Postoperative pain management in a surgical unit in a Basque Country hospital: a best practice implementation project

JBI Database System Rev Implement Rep. 2019 Apr;17(4):614-624. doi: 10.11124/JBISRIR-2017-003749.


Objectives: The objective of this project was to implement evidence-based recommendations for post-surgical pain management and improve quality of care for patients.

Introduction: Inadequate approaches to postoperative pain can lead to the pain becoming chronic, which has an impact on the patient's quality of life. The focus of this project was to implement evidence-based recommendations to improve the effect or outcome of post-surgical pain management strategies and improve quality of care.

Methods: This implementation project was undertaken in a surgical unit of a tertiary hospital. The clinical audit was developed in three phases using the Joanna Briggs Institute Practical Application of Clinical Evidence System and Getting Research into Practice audit and feedback tools for promoting change in healthcare practices and improving quality of care. A baseline audit was conducted with 27 patients that identified the barriers and strategies needed to improve the assessment and management of postoperative pain. Two follow-up audits audits were conducted, each comprising 40 patients.

Results: The baseline audit revealed the need to increase health education for patients and, or, their families on managing postoperative pain, with a special emphasis on non-pharmacological measures. This education was not recorded in the patients' medical histories at baseline and the aim was to rectify this.In follow-up audits, 100% of patients received individually tailored education about postoperative pain and its management.

Conclusions: The aims and main objectives of the present project were achieved, including improvements in the quality of health education related to pain and the recording of pain data. In addition, variations in the clinical practice related to the management of post-surgical pain decreased.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Audit
  • Evidence-Based Practice / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods
  • Humans
  • Implementation Science
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Pain, Postoperative / epidemiology
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control
  • Pain, Postoperative / therapy*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards*
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Spain / ethnology
  • Surgery Department, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Tertiary Care Centers