Pain treatment facilities: do we need quantity or quality?

N. de Meij*, A. Köke, T. van der Weijden, M. van Kleef, J. Patijn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Rationale, aims and objectivesChronic pain patients referred to a pain treatment facility have no guarantee that they will receive a proper diagnostic procedure or treatment. To obtain information about organizational aspects of pain treatment facilities and the content of their daily pain practice, we performed a questionnaire survey. The aim of the study was to evaluate the amount of pain treatment facilities, the content of organized specialized pain care and adherence to the criteria of the internationally accepted guidelines for pain treatment services.

MethodThe University Pain Centre Maastricht in the Department of Anaesthesiology and Pain Management at Maastricht University Medical Centre developed a questionnaire survey based on the Recommendations for Pain Treatment Services of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP). The questionnaire was sent to the medical boards of all hospitals in the Netherlands (n=94).

ResultsThe response rate was 86% (n=81). Of all hospitals, 88.9% (n=72) reported the provision of organized specialized pain care, which was provided by a pain management team in 86.1% (n=62) and by an individual specialist in 13.9% (n=10). Insight was obtained from pain treatment facilities in five different domains: the organizational structure of pain management, composition of the pain team, pain team practice, patient characteristics, and research and education facilities.

ConclusionAlthough 88.9% of all hospitals stated that organized specialized pain care was provided, only a few hospitals could adhere to the criteria for pain treatment services of the IASP. The outcome of the questionnaire survey may help to define quality improvement standards for pain treatment facilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)578-581
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


  • pain management
  • pain treatment facility
  • quality improvement
  • questionnaire survey

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