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Background : Postoperative pain remains a common complaint among PACU patients so we developed guidelines for better pain control. Patients rated their pain using a numeric rating scale (NRS, from 0 to 10). According to the guidelines, PACU nurses knew that patients with a NRS score ³ were in severe pain and required medication.
Objective : To determine the proportion of patients not receiving treatment according to the guidelines.
Design : Descriptive study
Setting : PACU at Srinagarind Hospital
Subjects : April 2001 PACU records
Measurement : The PACU records were reviewed retrospectively for age, NRS score, sedation score, number of treatments given and types of medication used.
Results : the PACU admitted 474 patients in the month of April and 338 them were included in our study. Pain assessment was performed on 246 of the sample (72.8%,95%Cl : 68-77%) although 92 were not documented. Most of the patients (95.5%) were able to rate their pain using the NRS. NRS scores ³ 5 were reported by 156 patients (66.4%,95%Cl: 60-72%) but 40 of them (25.6%,95%Cl: 19-33%) did not receive any treatment because 10 refused it and 30 gave no outward sign of needing it. Prior to discharge, 54 patients (29.8%, 95% Cl: 23-37%) still had NRS score³5.
Conclusion : Pain assessment according to the guidelines was performed on 72.8% of the sample. About 60% of patients had a NRS score ³ 5 but 25.6% did not receive any treatment. We concluded that the guidelines were useful for PACU pain management. For greater improvement in the quality of PACU care, a prospective study should determind provider compliance.
Keywords: 1. Postoperative Pain
3. Pain algorithm