Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

Background Information

• Pain is highly subjective and multidimensional with sensory, cognitive and affective components (IASP, 2012a).

• Inadequate pain management is evident across all ages. Worldwide, unrelieved or poorly managed pain is a burden on the person, the health-care system and society, and pain is a concern throughout life (Lynch, 2011). Choinière et al. (2010) and Schopflocher, Taenzer, and Jovey (2011) report that 18.9 percent of the population in industrialized nations live with pain.

• Huguet and Miro (2008) found 5.1 percent of children who report persistent pain experience it at moderate to severe levels.

• Effective pain management is a person’s right and assessing pain, intervening to ease it, monitoring, preventing and minimizing it should be top priorities of a person’s care, regardless of their diagnosis or type of pain (Jarzyna et al., 2011).

• Pain management must be person-centred, multidimensional and comprehensive, taking into consideration the bio-psychosocial, spiritual, and cultural factors affecting the person.

• Pain management should be an interprofessional team effort (Cancer Care Ontario, 2008; Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement [ICSI], 2009).

*For complete references please refer to full guideline at