Objectives: The objective was to determine, among emergency department (ED) patients, the factors associated with a high level of satisfaction with pain management.
Methods: This was a prospective cohort study in a single ED. Consecutive adult patients, with triage pain scores of ≥4 (numerical rating scale=0 to 10), were enrolled. Variables examined included demographics, presenting complaint, pain scores, nurse-initiated analgesia, analgesia administered, time to first analgesia, specific pain 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 level of patient satisfaction with their pain management (six-point scale: very unsatisfied to very satisfied) was determined by a blinded investigator 48 hours post discharge. Logistic regression analyses were undertaken.
Results: Data were complete for 476 patients: mean (±standard deviation [SD]) age was 43.6 (±17.2) years, and 237 were males (49.8%, 95% confidence interval [CI]=45.2% to 54.4%). A total of 190 (39.9%, 95% CI=35.5% to 44.5%) patients were "very satisfied" with their pain management, and 207 (43.5%, 95% CI=39.0% to 48.1%) patients received adequate analgesia. Three variables were associated with the patient being very satisfied: the provision of adequate analgesia (odds ratio [OR]=7.8, 95% CI=4.9 to 12.4), specific pain communication (OR=2.3, 95% CI=1.3 to 4.1), and oral opioid administration (OR=2.0, 95% CI=1.1 to 3.4). Notably, the provision of nurse-initiated analgesia to 211 patients (44.3%, 95% CI=39.8% to 48.9%) and the short time to analgesia (median=11.5 minutes; interquartile range [IQR]=2.0 to 85.8 minutes) were not associated with being very satisfied.
Conclusions: The receipt of adequate analgesia (as defined) is highly associated with patient satisfaction. This variable may serve as a clinically relevant and achievable target in the pursuit of best-practice pain management.
© 2012 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.