Rethinking How We Manage Pain

KP Painscape — Completed 2010


Untreated or under-treated pain causes unnecessary suffering and negatively impacts patient recovery. Of the 23 million surgery patients in the US every year, approximately 50% of post-operative patients report having received adequate pain relief during the course of their recovery.

To address this, the Joint Commission standardized practices around pain assessment by using the 0-10 scale.

In 2001, the Joint Commission required all accredited hospitals to begin treating pain as "The Fifth Vital Sign."

Source: Joint Commission >

Despite improvements brought upon by hospitals responding to Joint Commission requirements, the practice of managing pain still remains challenging in a clinical setting - with varied and inconsistent results around providing adequate comfort to the patient.


KP Painscape standardizes best practices in pain management by outlining six key behaviors for
managing pain as the fifth vital sign and providing supporting tools to help nurses stay ahead of their
patients’ pain.

The six solutions support the two areas of Individual Nursing Practice and Team Nursing Practice.


Kaiser Permanente med-surg units that have implemented KP Painscape have seen improvement in their HCAHPS Pain Management Composite scores over three years. Between 2009 and 2010 pilot units in Sacramento and Santa Clara have seen score improvements from 60th to 90th, 75th to 85th and 10th to 85th percentile. In December 2011, Northern California Hospitals composite changes went from 25th to 50th percentile.