Introduction: Pain is the main reason for out patients visitation to the Emergency Department. Pain management however in most cases is inadequate due to underestimation and inefficient treatment.
Aim: Identifying pain management practices and assess their effectiveness in pain relief. We also desire to identify the best pain management care plan to effectively reduce the patient’s pain and need for analgesic drugs.
Method: A study was conducted at the General Hospital of Attica, Emergency department during June and July of 2009. Data was completed by the collection of questionnaires (arrival / discharge) of all patients aged 14 and over whose illness was not life threatening and had the ability to understand and answer the questionnaire, and also with the patients analysis charts. Pain intensity was evaluated with an 11 point numerical pain scale.
Results: 247 patients participated in the study with a mean age 38.5 ± 15.3 years. The mean pain intensity on arrival was 7.2 ± 1.9 and at discharge 5.0 ± 2. Pain intensity was unchanged for 35.5% of patients during their visit to the ED. Patients were expected to leave the emergency department with a mean pain intensity of 2.5 ± 1.3, which deviates more than 2 points for 90% of the patients concerning pain intensity on discharge. In 68% of patients who should have been administered analgesics, they were not administered. Not one of the patients had their pain intensity documented and less than 6% were recorded to have been administered pain relief.
Conclusions: The results showed a poor response in pain relief due to prevailing practice of pain management in the Emergency Department and a lack of assessment of the needs and expectations of the patient.
Key words: Pain management, oligoanalgesia, emergency department, patient expectation, patient satisfaction