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Kerri Wright, Omolola Adeosum
British Journal of Nursing, Vol. 18, Iss. 3, 12 Feb 2009, pp 158 - 161

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a long-term condition that would benefit from a long-term conditions approach to its care and management. SCD is growing in prevalence, affecting 10?00012?000 people in the UK, with SCD sufferers having an increased life expectancy from in the past. The most problematic aspect of managing SCD is management of the pain from vaso-occlusive crises. Vaso-occlusive pain is the most common reason for hospital admissions in people with SCD and accounts for large numbers of accident and emergency (A&E) attendances. A literature review was carried out to examine the management of vaso-occlusive pain in SCD. The review identified three main barriers to effective pain management in SCD: the manifestation of vaso-occlusive pain, the sociocultural factors affecting pain assessment, and the concerns regarding addiction and pseudo-addiction. Addressing these barriers will allow people with SCD to have their pain managed more effectively, improve their quality of life and potentially reduce A&E attendances and admissions to hospital.

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