This guideline offers best practice advice on the care of people with advanced and progressive disease, who require strong opioids for pain control. These patients are defined as those in severe pain who may be opioid-naive, or those whose pain has been inadequately controlled on step two of the WHO pain ladder.
Treatment and care should take into account patients' needs and preferences. People with advanced and progressive disease, who require strong opioids for pain control, should have the opportunity to make informed decisions about their care and treatment, in partnership with their healthcare professionals. If patients do not have the capacity to make decisions, healthcare professionals should follow the Department of Health's advice on consent and the code of practice that accompanies the Mental Capacity Act. In Wales, healthcare professionals should follow advice on consent from the Welsh Government.
Good communication between healthcare professionals and patients is essential. It should be supported by evidence-based written information tailored to the patient's needs. Treatment and care, and the information patients are given about it, should be culturally appropriate. It should also be accessible to people with additional needs such as physical, sensory or learning disabilities, and to people who do not speak or read English.
If the patient agrees, families and carers should have the opportunity to be involved in decisions about treatment and care.
Families and carers should also be given the information and support they need.