September is Pain Awareness Month, an annual health observance of nearly two decades standing. That’s no surprise when you consider that nearly 100 million Americans suffer from chronic and/or severe pain. According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly 80 percent of patients with advanced-stage cancer have moderate to severe pain that negatively affects their functional status and quality of life.
In fact, pain is part of many life-limiting illnesses, and can even be an unintended consequence of treatments. Yet that doesn’t mean you have to live with it.
For more than 26 years, Capital Caring has been a leader in managing pain for those with advanced illness, following clinical protocols to achieve the best outcomes. For example, our comprehensive, interventional approach can help with pain and discomfort from a range of causes, including cancer and chemotherapy, restlessness from dementia, shortness of breath resulting from COPD, neuropathy, osteoarthritis, and a wide variety of serious life-limiting illness.
And we know that managing pain simply can’t wait. So we work to reduce pain to a manageable 0-2 level on a 10 point scale within the first 48 hours you become a Capital Caring patient.
For patients whose pain can’t be helped in the home, our Center for Pain and Palliative Care is the answer. The only place of its kind in the region, the Center provides patient care at two clinic locations: the Capital Caring Adler Center on the Van Metre Campus in Virginia and on the campus of the District of Columbia’s Sibley Memorial Hospital, affiliated with Johns Hopkins.
Both sites offer the most advanced diagnostic technology for pain management. Combined with our years of clinical expertise, we provide the precision diagnosis and targeted pain intervention critical to the best palliative and end-of-life care. As an example, our C-Arm X-Ray can precisely identify the exact source of pain so that our choice of treatment is also precise—a superior approach to simply using a general oral or intravenous analgesic/pain reliever.
Specific pain management intervention offered by Capital Caring through our clinic sites includes:
- Lymphedema therapy (may be needed following cancer treatment)
- Neurolytic procedures (a type of nerve block)
- Sympathetic nerve blocks
- Intrathecal pump therapies (implanted pump that delivers medication directly to the spinal cord)
- Epidural and major joint injections
- Injections for axial spine fractures
- Ascites and pleural effusion management (treats fluid build-up from cancer that may accumulate in the lungs, chest cavity and abdomen)
Leading our clinical team is Michael Byas-Smith, MD, who serves as medical director of the Capital Caring Adler Center and at both sites of the Center for Pain and Palliative Care. Prior to joining Capital Caring, Dr. Byas-Smith spent 22 years at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, serving as the Director of the Winship Cancer Institute Cancer Pain Clinic and teaching.
Beyond treating physical pain, patients may also experience emotional or spiritual pain when facing a life-limiting illness. This, in turn, may affect physical pain. To address these different aspects, Capital Caring treats every unique person holistically, offering many types of counseling — from palliative to pastoral — along with family support.
Being seriously ill does not mean that you must also live with major pain and the distress it can bring. We know that pain relief makes an enormous difference to quality of life for both patients and families as well as one’s feelings of independence.
Our care and support – include managing pain – is designed to help our patients make the most of every single moment they have with loved ones.
How does pain affect you or a loved one? Please contact Capital Caring at 800-869-2163 or contact www.capitalcaring.org, 24 hours a day/7 days a week and let us help.