Background: Low rates of prehospital analgesia, as recommended by Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) guidelines, have been demonstrated in the Joint Theaters combat setting. The reasons for this remain unclear. This study expands on previous reports by evaluating a larger prehospital dataset for determinants of analgesia administration.
Methods: This was part of an approved quality assurance project evaluating adherence to TCCC guidelines across multiple modalities. Data were from the Prehospital Trauma Registry, which existed from January 2013 through September 2014, and comprises data from TCCC cards, Department of Defense 1380 forms, and after-action reports to provide real-time feedback to units on prehospital medical care.
Results: Of 705 total patient encounters, there were 501 documented administrations of analgesic medications given to 397 patients. Of these events, 242 (34.3%) were within TCCC guidelines. Special Operations Command had the highest rate of overall adherence, but rates were still low (68.5%). Medical officers had the highest rates of overall administration. The low rates of administration and adherence persisted across all subgroups.
Conclusion: Rates of analgesia administration remained low overall and in subgroup analyses. Medical officers appeared to have higher rates of compliance with TCCC guidelines for analgesia administration, but overall adherence to TCCC guidelines was low. Future research will be aimed at finding methods to improve administration and adherence rates.