JOURNAL ARTICLE

The display effects of patients' self-assessment on traumatic acute pain on the proportion and timing of analgesics administration in the emergency department

Nik Hisamuddin Na Rahman, Cecilia Ananthanosamy
International Journal of Emergency Medicine 2014, 7: 36
25635196

BACKGROUND: Acute pain assessment in the emergency department (ED) is important in particular during the triage process. Early pain assessment and management improve outcome. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of documentation and display of patient's self-assessment of pain using numerical rating scale (NRS) on analgesic use among adult trauma patients in ED.

METHODS: A randomized control trial was conducted recruiting 216 trauma patients who presented to ED of two tertiary centers. Pain score was done using NRS for all patients. They were randomized into pain score display group or not displayed in the control. The outcome measured were proportion of patients receiving analgesics and timing from triage to analgesic administration.

RESULTS: The proportion of patients who received analgesics when pain score was displayed was 6.5% more than when pain score was not displayed. This difference was however not statistically significant. However, stratified categorical analysis using chi-square showed that the displayed severe pain group was 1.3 times more likely to receive analgesics compared to the non-displayed group. The mean timing to analgesic administration for the displayed and non-displayed groups were 81.3 ± 41.2 (95% C.I 65.9, 96.7) and 88.7 ± 45.4 (95% C.I 69.0, 108.3), respectively (p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: The proportion of patients who received analgesics increased when NRS was displayed. However, the pain display has no significant effect on the timing of analgesics.

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