Pain management in the emergency department and its relationship to patient satisfaction

J Emerg Trauma Shock. 2010 Oct;3(4):326-30. doi: 10.4103/0974-2700.70749.


Background: Pain is the most common reason due to which patients come to the emergency department (ED).

Aim: The purpose of this study was to measure the correlation, if any, between pain reduction and the level of satisfaction in patients who presented to the ED with pain as their chief complaint.

Materials and methods: This study used a randomly selected group of patients who presented to the ED with pain of 4 or more on the Visual Analogue Pain Scale (VAS) as their chief complaint to a level one adult and pediatric trauma center. Instruments that were used in this study were the VAS, Brief Pain Inventory (BPI), and the Medical Interview Satisfaction Scale (MISS). They were administered to patients by research fellows in the treatment rooms. Statistical analysis included frequencies, descriptive, and linear regression. This study was approved by the Internal Review Board.

Results: A total of 159 patients were enrolled in the study. All patients were given some type of treatment for their pain upon arrival to the ED. A logistic regression showed a significant relationship to reduction in pain by 40% or more and customer service questions.

Conclusions: A reduction in perceived pain levels does directly relate to several indicators of customer service. Patients who experienced pain relief during their stay in the ED had significant increases in distress relief, rapport with their doctor, and intent to comply with given instructions.

Keywords: Emergency medicine; customer service; pain management.