Simple clinical targets associated with a high level of patient satisfaction with their pain management

Emerg Med Australas. 2011 Apr;23(2):195-201. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-6723.2011.01397.x. Epub 2011 Mar 23.


Introduction: We aimed to determine factors that are significantly associated with a high level of patient satisfaction with their pain management.

Methods: We undertook an observational study in a large metropolitan ED. Adult patients with a triage pain score of ≥4 (0-10 scale) were enrolled. Data collected included demographics, presenting complaint, pain scores every 30 min, whether nurse-initiated analgesia was administered, the nature of the pain relief administered, time to first dose of analgesia, elements of staff communication and whether 'adequate analgesia' was provided (defined as a decrease in pain score to <4 and a decrease from the triage pain score of ≥2). The primary end-point, determined at follow up within 48 h, was the level of satisfaction with pain management (6-point scale: very unsatisfied-very satisfied).

Results: One hundred and sixty-seven (82.7%) of 202 enrolled patients were followed up - mean (SD) age 46.4 (18.3) years, 75 (44.9%) men. Eighty-one (48.5%) patients were very satisfied with their pain management. Only two clinical variables were significantly associated with a high level of satisfaction: receipt of 'adequate analgesia' (as defined) and specific communication regarding pain management. Forty-four (58.7%) versus 37 (40.2%) patients who did/did not receive 'adequate analgesia', respectively, were very satisfied (difference 18.5%, 95% CI 2.3-34.7, P= 0.027). Seventy-seven (53.9%) and four (16.7%) patients who were/were not advised by ED staff that their pain management was important, respectively, were very satisfied (difference 37.2%, 95% CI 17.7-56.6, P= 0.002).

Conclusions: Our 'adequate analgesia' definition might provide a useful clinical target, which, combined with adequate communication, might help maximize patient satisfaction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesia / methods*
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Australia
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triage


  • Analgesics