Background: The objective of the survey was to assess the status of acute pain management in U.S. hospitals and attitudes of adults in the U.S. toward postoperative pain management, information that has not been previously available.
Methods: Two telephone questionnaire surveys were conducted U.S. hospital participants, including 100 teaching hospitals (acute care hospitals with a residency program and/or university affiliation), 100 nonteaching (community) hospitals with fewer than 200 beds, and 100 nonteaching (community) hospitals with 200 beds or more were interviewed regarding current and future pain management programs and related topics. Adult participants in 500 U.S. households were interviewed on attitudes and experiences with postoperative pain and its management.
Results: Forty-two percent of the hospitals have acute pain management programs, and an additional 13% have plans to establish an acute pain management program. Seventy-seven percent of adults believe that it is necessary to experience some pain after surgery. Fifty-seven percent of those who had surgery cited concern about pain after surgery as their primary fear experienced before surgery. Seventy-seven percent of adults reported pain after surgery, with 80% of these experiencing moderate to extreme pain.
Conclusions: Despite a growing trend in pain management, increased professional and public awareness including the establishment of pain management programs and public and patient education is needed to reduce the incidence and severity of postoperative pain.