Preventing the Acute-to-Chronic Pain Transition

Part of AACN Critical Care Webinar Series

Presenter(s): Dr. Kathleen A. Puntillo, RN, PhD, FAAN, FCCM

Added to Collection

Webinar Summary

Nurses caring for high acuity patients must consider both short-term goals, such as managing acute pain, and the long-term goal of preventing complications that affect patients’ future functional state. Chronic pain is a disease process that affects quality of life and places patients at risk for opioid dependence. In this webinar, Kathleen Puntillo will discuss the transition from acute to chronic pain that occurs in critically ill patients and how it contributes to post intensive care syndrome (PICS)... Risk factors for the development of chronic pain will be described. Dr. Puntillo will also provide a multimodal approach to acute pain management that can mitigate the risk of developing chronic pain.


  • Differentiate acute and chronic pain and describe the impact of chronic pain as a disease process.
  • Describe the modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors for the transition of acute pain to chronic pain.
  • Identify strategies for preventing acute pain from becoming chronic, including both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions.


Dr. Kathleen A. Puntillo, RN, PhD, FAAN, FCCM

Dr. Kathleen A. Puntillo, RN, PhD, FAAN, FCCM

Dr. Kathleen Puntillo is Professor Emeritus of Nursing and Research Scientist at University of California, San Francisco. She has a long-standing program of research on pain in critically ill and injured patients. Her current research includes studies of symptoms in patients at high risk of dying in ICUs and ICU procedural pain. Dr. Puntillo is also an educator and consultant in pain and palliative care and is actively involved in several critical care Quality Improvement projects. She publishes and lectures extensively on these topics. Dr. Puntillo is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and a Fellow in Critical Care Medicine.

Continuing Education Disclosure Statement

Successful Completion

Learners must attend/view/read the entire activity and complete the associated evaluation to be awarded the contact hours or CERP. No partial credit will be awarded.


This activity has been reviewed by the Nurse Planner. It has been determined that the material presented here shows no bias. Approval of a continuing education activity does not imply endorsement by AACN or ANCC of any commercial products displayed or discussed in conjunction with the activity.


The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC's) Commission on Accreditation, ANCC Provider Number 0012 (60 min contact hour). AACN has been approved as a provider of continuing education in nursing by the California State Board of Nursing, California Provider number CEP01036 for 0.6 contact hours (50 min contact hour).

AACN programming meets the standards for most states that require mandatory continuing education contact hours for license and/or certification renewal. AACN recommends consulting with your state board of nursing or credentialing organization before submitting CE to fulfill continuing education requirements.