Anästh Intensivmed 2019;60:265-272 Deutsch English
Special Articles - Guidelines
Staff and organizational requirements for pain services in hospitals – A recommendation from the German Society for Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine


Joachim Erlenwein, Klinik für Anästhesiologie Universitätsmedizin Göttingen Robert-Koch-Straße 40 37075 Göttingen, Deutschland
W. Meißner,
F. Petzke,
E. Pogatzki-Zahn,
U. Stamer,
W. Koppert,


Acute Pain Service, Pain Management, Consultative Service, Regional Anaesthesia, Analgesic Techniques


Although pain services have been established in many hospitals, there is considerable heterogeneity among them with respect to organization of service, staff and qualifications of staff, and treatment approaches. With this recommendation, the German Society for Anaesthesiology and Inten­sive Care Medicine defines requirements for pain services in hospitals with respect to organizational standards and staff qualifications. The treatment offered by pain services supplements the care provided by other departments, ensuring a high quality of specialized pain man­agement in all areas of the hospital. Pain services shall oversee treatment with special analgesic techniques as well providing consultative and liaison services, bringing together in-hospital pain medicine expertise in one service, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via a single point of contact. The medical head of the pain service shall be a qualified provider of pain medicine as defined by the German Medical Association and should preferably also have undergone additional training in basic psychosomatic medicine. Further members of medical staff shall match consultant-level standards whilst non-medical staff shall have completed continuing education in the management of pain. Guidelines for minimal staff resources were defined; these include a specific time frame for first contacts (20 min) and follow-up (10 min) when providing care for special analgesic techniques, and when providing guidance and liaison services (first contact 45 min, follow-up 20 min), with additional time for transit, preparation, training and quality assurance. In addition to defining requisite spatial resources and equipment, the overriding importance of ensuring the provision of specialized care is emphasized, as is the requirement for the provision of a suf­ficient and predictable distinct budget for the pain service. Written agreements between the disciplines and transparent documentation, including patient-re­ported outcomes, are recommended to ensure a high quality of care.
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