Ethical quandaries in caring for primary-care patients with chronic pain.

Research paper by Patricia J PJ Robinson, Julie A JA Rickard

Indexed on: 10 Apr '13Published on: 10 Apr '13Published in: Families, systems & health : the journal of collaborative family healthcare


In the past decade, more and more behavioral health providers have begun consultation practices in primary-care settings. Their availability makes multidisciplinary care a reality and the possibility of improved outcomes for patients with chronic pain more feasible. However, behavioral health providers encounter new ethical quandaries in providing services to patients with chronic pain and to the primary-care providers who plan their treatment. This article presents two cases to illustrate the questions that arise in delivery of primary-care behavioral health services to patients with chronic pain. Relevant professional ethical guidelines for psychologists, social workers, and physicians are examined and recommendations for addressing the gaps in extant guides are offered.