16 October 2017
Pain is a common symptom presented in the emergency department (ED) although it is often underestimated, poorly evaluated and treated. The application of a protocol for timely pain management ensured by the nurse can avoid the delays in the analgesic treatment and improve the patient’s quality of waiting.
To check the effectiveness and efficiency of the protocol aimed at early pain management in triage, active in our ED. In particular, the response to analgesic treatment was evaluated 60 minutes after the administration and at discharge. Patient satisfaction was also evaluated using two anonymous questionnaires both at discharge and 48 hours later via telephone.
A single-center, observational study was conducted on a prospective cohort of patients (aged ≥4 years) with a pain symptom at admission in ED with no surgical picture.
In the observation period (June 2015–May 2016), 382 patients were enrolled, and of these, 312 (84.8%) accepted pain therapy during triage stage in the ED. In 97.4% of the cases, orosoluble paracetamol 1000 mg was administered. In the re-evaluation done 60 minutes later, 65.9% of the patients showed a reduction of at least 2 points on Numeric Rating Scale (NRS), equal to a mean reduction of 2.24 points (95% CI: 2.03–2.45). The mean time of analgesia intake was equal to 5.9 minutes (95% CI: 3.8–8.1). In the re-evaluation done at discharge, 33.2% of the patients showed a reduction of NRS score >50%, leading to a mean reduction of 39% (95% CI: 35.3%−41.9%). The level of patient satisfaction was high with a mean value >9 points (maximum satisfaction =10).
This protocol shows that optimal pain management was achieved by patients rapidly receiving an effective painkiller therapy at triage, leading to substantial patient satisfaction. In moderate pain, orosoluble paracetamol 1000 mg provided a reduction of NRS score by 2 points in 67.6% of the patients, confirming to be the analgesic of choice in ED.