Purposes: This study was designed to evaluate the ability of a triage pain protocol to improve frequency and time to delivery of analgesia for musculoskeletal injuries in the emergency department (ED).
Basic procedures: Frequency and time to analgesic administration were measured before and after use of a triage pain protocol. The protocol allowed analgesic medications to be given at the time of triage.
Main findings: Time to medication administration was 76 minutes (95% confidence interval [CI], 68-84 minutes) before and 40 minutes (95% CI, 32-47 minutes) after the protocol. Five hundred fifty-nine (70%) of 800 patients received analgesics using the protocol compared with 212 of 471 (45%) patients prior.
Principal conclusions: Use of a triage pain protocol increased the number of patients with musculoskeletal injury who received pain medication in the ED. Use of the protocol also resulted in a decrease in the time to analgesic medication administration.