The Therapeutic Activity Goal for Acute Postoperative Pain Management

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Acute pain intensity has conventionally been assessed with a patient self-reported, unidimensional pain scale. This approach can inadvertently underestimate analgesia and result in large cumulative opioid doses and greater dose-dependent side effects and complications. We have thus created the Therapeutic Activity Goal (TAG) as an alternate, more comprehensive way to assess acute postoperative pain, and even more so, to define and determine adequate postoperative analgesia. The TAG comprises the level of acceptable pain intensity, the level and types of desired activities, and accomplishing other patient-centered functional goals. The TAG evolves throughout the patient’s hospitalization to promote timely discharge.

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