ROLE FOR PMHNP IN TREATING ADULTS WITH CHRONIC NONMALIGNANT PAIN AND DEPRESSION
Gabba, Guadalupe Clementina
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The purpose of this paper is to discuss what role Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP) can have in supporting primary care providers in developing an effective treatment plan for patients with chronic pain. Chronic pain accounts for 80% of all visits to primary care, and is one of the most complex conditions primary care treats. Depression is cited as one of the complicating factors in treating chronic pain. A literature review of studies related to treatment of chronic pain in the primary care setting suggests that primary care providers do not have the resources to address depression effectively so may not regularly assess for, and therefore may inadequately treat, depression. The literature also demonstrated that the lack of treatment for depression affected the response to chronic pain therapies. From the mental health perspective, studies suggest that chronic pain affects close to 47% of those suffering from depression, and that untreated chronic pain negatively affects therapy for depression. These findings suggest a significant role for PMHNP in both supporting primary care in treating chronic pain, and in helping patients with depression obtain better response to their treatment for depression.