Complex Symptom Management (Pain)

Complex Symptom Management (Pain)Welcome to the third chapter in the course "Team Based Palliative Care Essentials for Parkinson's Disease". This chapter provides an overview on managing different levels of pain, including non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic interventions.

Participants in this course will feel more empowered to work on pain with patients, learn how to comprehensively assess pain in patients with PD using a palliative care framework, be able to identify and overcome barriers to effective pain management, and learn how to approach pain management in a targeted and systematic way, with non- and pharmacological strategies.

After completing this course, feel free to take a break and come back later or move to the next chapter. 





Meet your Presenter: Christina Vaughan

Introduction to Complex Symptom Management

Introduction to Pain Management

Pain History and Shared Goals

Mild Pain and Non-Pharmacologic Intervention

Moderate Pain and Pharmacologic Interventions

Severe Pain and Opioids

Key Takeaways

Chapter Three Quiz




Course summary
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imageChristina Vaughan, MD, MHS

Associate Professor of Neurology and Medicine University of Colorado


Christina Vaughan, MD, MHS, is an associate professor of Neurology and Medicine at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus and Chief of the section of Neuropalliative Care. She began her medical career focused first on basic science through a pre-doctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NIH), followed by a master’s degree program in public mental health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She completed medical school in her hometown at the State University of NY at Buffalo, followed by neurology residency at the University of Pittsburgh. Having grown up with 2 immediate family members living with Parkinson disease, she chose to pursue fellowship training in Movement Disorders which she completed at Rush University in Chicago. She took a faculty position at the Medical University of South Carolina where she worked for several years as Associate Program Director for Movement Disorders. Dr. Vaughan realized that she wanted to care for patients and families in a more comprehensive way which led her to pursue a fellowship in Palliative Medicine which she completed at the combined program in San Diego at Scripps/UCSD. She spent this year learning how to work with an interdisciplinary team to come alongside patients and families, improving life and providing comfort to people of all ages with serious, chronic, and life-threatening illnesses. She was thrilled to find a position that combined her expertise in both neurology and palliative medicine at the University of Colorado and joined the faculty in 2017. She is Board certified in both Neurology and Palliative Medicine. She has 6 neuro-palliative clinics per week (including one at the VA Medical Center) where she sees patients with a multitude of chronic neurologic diseases. She also attends the inpatient Palliative Care service at UC Health Hospital. In her role as clinician-educator she is heavily involved in teaching at all levels of medical training and is also participating in several clinical research projects assessing the unique palliative care needs in populations such as those with early onset dementia. She thoroughly enjoys hearing the narratives of her patients and families to understand better what life was like before the illness and what’s most important now – to try and match up goals of care to what is medically possible in order to help patients have better days and optimize quality of life.


Parkinson’s Foundation adheres to the ACCME’s Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education. Any individuals in a position to control the content of a CE activity, including faculty, planners, reviewers, or others are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships with ineligible entities (commercial interests). All relevant conflicts of interest have been mitigated prior to the commencement of the activity.

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Welcome to the third course in your Team-Based Palliative Care journey. This is course three of ten. You can either register for this individual chapter, or for the entire Team-based Palliative Care Essentials course.

Once you register, you can enter this chapter, download the course materials, watch the educational videos, complete the quiz, and move to the next chapter.