JOURNAL ARTICLE

[Requirements for the organization of pain therapy in hospitals: interdepartmental comparison for pain management from the employees' perspective]

J Erlenwein, G Ufer, A Hecke, M Pfingsten, M Bauer, F Petzke
Der Schmerz 2013, 27 (6): 553-65
24337422

BACKGROUND: In recent decades, the focus of pain management in hospitals was the organization and quality of control of postoperative pain, although there is a similar demand in nonsurgical departments. The aim of this study was to assess the employees' perspective on problems and corresponding solutions in pain management in a university hospital and to further clarify whether the implementation of concepts and tools of pain management across disciplines is feasible.

METHODS: Physicians and nursing staff of all inpatient departments of the University Hospital Göttingen were asked about problems in pain management and the importance of various established instruments using a standardized questionnaire. Ratings were recorded on a numeric rating scale (0-10). The analysis was primarily descriptive, the Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U test were used when appropriate.

RESULTS: In all, 149 medical and 501 nursing employees were included. The quality of pain management was perceived as better in surgical departments than in the conservative and pediatric departments. In all areas, the lack of an adequate order for baseline- and rescue-analgesic, and accordingly the nursing staff's limited ability to act was rated as problematic. In contrast to the conservative and pediatric departments, the predominant problem of surgical departments was the lack of availability of physicians on the ward. As a solution, the advice provided by pain consultation services was rated highly by the staff in all areas. The importance of implementation of standardized analgesic concepts was also supported equally in all areas. The evaluation of the quality of pain management was related to the employee's estimation of their ability to actively treat pain. Physicians rated problems in quality and organization lower compared to nursing stuff.

CONCLUSION: The results demonstrate that from the employee's perspective problems in pain management in surgical and nonsurgical departments are very similar. Transferring concepts and structures of surgical pain management, such as standardized concepts and advice and or care through pain services, would meet high levels of acceptance. The results also indicate that the nursing staff's ability to treat should be increased by the provision of adequate rescue-analgesics. To close deficits in the management of care, established concepts of pain management could be extended to all departments of a hospital. Similarities outweigh differences in the employee's assessment.

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