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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2002 Dec;24(6):586-92.

Pain prevalence in a French teaching hospital.

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  • 1Public Health Department, Groupe Hospitalier Pitié Salpêtrière, Paris, France.


To measure the prevalence and intensity of pain in hospitalized patients and to assess the quality of pain management, an exhaustive cross-sectional study was conducted in every department in a university hospital. Patients hospitalized for 24 hours or more completed an anonymous self-report questionnaire. Among the 1,475 inpatients, 998 completed the questionnaire. During the 24-hour period prior to our survey, 55% experienced pain. On 100 mm pain intensity measures, the median maximum pain experienced in the 24 preceding hours was 60 mm and the median pain intensity at the time of the survey was 30 mm. Although pain measured at the time of survey disappeared in only 16% of patients, 79% were satisfied with pain management. Despite a high satisfaction level, the prevalence and intensity of pain were very high. This study provided baseline data on pain in a French hospital and led to the implementation of a program for improving pain management.

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