Phone Call Scripts

Scenario 1: Inadequate pain control

Strategy: Empathize; normalize the pain; rule out problems; strategize, be available.

One at a time with pauses between.  Listen more than speak.

  • "Does the surgery hurt more than you expected?"
  • "Pain can feel like something is wrong" (Rule out compartment syndrome) 
  • "Your body needs time to heal"

"Are you using all of the pain management strategies?"

Pain management strategies

If you are having trouble getting comfortable the night of your surgery try one or more of these strategies:

  • Add acetaminophen if it’s not in the medication you are already taking. 
  • Add ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Stagger the acetaminophen and ibuprofen so that you’re taking one or the other every three hours.
  • Elevate
  • Apply ice (bag of ice wrapped in a towel; 10 minutes on, 5 minutes off, repeat)

"We'll call you in the morning and see how you're doing.  You can page us through the main hospital operator if you think something is wrong"

"Can you repeat back our plan?"

"Do you have any questions?"


Scenario 2: Intense pain after block has worn off

Strategy: Empathize; normalize the pain; rule out problems; strategize, be available.

One at a time with pauses between.  Listen more than speak.

  • "It's difficult when the block wears off."
  • "It can feel like something is wrong." 
  • "It should get better from now on."

"Are you using all of the pain management strategies?"

Pain management strategies

If you are having trouble getting comfortable the night of your surgery try one or more of these strategies:

  • Add acetaminophen if it’s not in the medication you are already taking.
  • Add ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Stagger the acetaminophen and ibuprofen so that you’re taking one or the other every three hours.
  • Elevate
  • Apply ice (bag of ice wrapped in a towel; 10 minutes on, 5 minutes off, repeat)

"We'll call you in the morning and see how you're doing.  You can page us through the main hospital operator if you think something is wrong"

"Can you repeat back our plan?"

"Do you have any questions?"

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