Module 3: Assessment

Lesson 2

Acute pain: Goals of care

Analgesia should be titrated to achieve both decreased pain intensity and the ability to undertake appropriate functional activity such as deep breathing and coughing, ambulation, sleep, and engagement in rehabilitative activities.

The factors below influence the patient’s response to the treatment of acute pain:

  • Beliefs about the causes of pain
  • Knowledge, expectations, and preferences related to pain management
  • Expectations regarding the outcome of pain treatment
  • Reduction in pain required for patient satisfaction or for resuming “reasonable activities”
  • Typical coping response to stress or pain, including presence of anxiety or psychiatric disorders (e.g., depression or psychosis)
  • Family expectations and beliefs about pain, stress and postoperative course


  • Breivik, H., Borchgrevink, P. C., Allen, S. M., Rosseland, L. A., Romundstad, L., Hals, E. K., … Stubhaug, A. (2008). Assessment of pain. BJA: British Journal of Anaesthesia, 101(1): 17–24.