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Managing Pain and Improving Comfort

Your Johns Hopkins care team takes pain seriously. Pain can have various causes and sources, and can affect people differently. However, most pain can be managed, especially when you communicate with your nurses and doctors.

One tool to help with this communication is a pain measurement scale. You will be asked to rate your pain using the scale below and choose a number from 0 to 10 that best describes your pain, with 10 being the worst.

Remember: Your health care team will not know how much pain you have unless you tell them. You can help them by asking questions and finding out more about how to relieve your pain.

pain rating scale to measure level of pain patient feelsPain Rating Scale | View larger

Improving Your Comfort

There are many ways to increase your comfort during your stay at the hospital. Your family or nurse can help with items to help you stay warm or cool enough, well groomed, and entertained.

Please discuss pain and comfort items with your family and health care team to ensure they support your well-being and do not interfere with your safety or treatment.

You can request the following from your nurse or care provider:

  • Warm pack/cold pack/ice/heat
  • Warm blankets
  • Warm washcloth
  • Extra pillow(s) (neck, knees, ankles)
  • Humidification for your oxygen tube
  • Saline nose spray
  • Fan
  • Bed repositioning
  • A walk in the hall
  • Shower
  • Gentle stretching/range of motion exercises
  • A particular food or beverage
  • A visit from a chaplain or social worker
  • Soothing music and guided imagery therapy (TV channel)
  • Pet therapy if available
  • Grooming items such as lip balm, toothbrush, floss, cotton swab, mouthwash, lotion or shampoo

Items from home can help you feel more relaxed, too. Ask your nurse if your friends and family can bring you your own pajamas and robe to wear during your stay.

Relaxing Entertainment

You can ask friends and family to bring in books, magazines, playing cards, your tablet or laptop, knitting, crafts and puzzles to distract you from any discomfort and help you pass the time.

The Power of Sleep

Sleep is essential to your healing. We will make every effort to help you rest, including uninterrupted sleep time when possible. You can also request a sleep kit with ear plugs and an eye shield.

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