Analgesia delivery in the ED

Am J Emerg Med. 2006 Nov;24(7):806-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2006.05.004.


Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of analgesia delivery, in the emergency department setting, to patients presenting with acute pain, with regard to guidelines from the British Association of Accident and Emergency Medicine (BAEM).

Methods: A retrospective analysis of patient records. We measured the time intervals between patient arrival, assessment, and the delivery of analgesia. Clinical outcomes were compared with national target guidelines.

Results: The mean interval for patients with moderate pain was 3 hours and 46 minutes, and for those with severe pain, 1 hour and 12 minutes. The range was from 8 minutes to 4 hours and 11 minutes. The number of patients not receiving analgesia within BAEM best practice guidelines was 68%.

Conclusion: There is a significant delay in patients with acute pain receiving any form of analgesia. Performance in relation to BAEM guidelines is poor. Several areas have been identified to make practical changes to service provision and patient care.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Analgesia / standards*
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Humans
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • United Kingdom


  • Analgesics