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Am J Crit Care. 2012 Jul;21(4):251-9. doi: 10.4037/ajcc2012611.

Critical care nurses' pain assessment and management practices: a survey in Canada.

Author information

1
Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, 155 College St, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5T IP8. louise.rose@utoronto.ca

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Regular pain assessment can lead to decreased incidence of pain and shorter durations of mechanical ventilation and stays in the intensive care unit.

OBJECTIVES:

To document knowledge and perceptions of pain assessment and management practices among Canadian intensive care unit nurses.

METHODS:

A self-administered questionnaire was mailed to 3753 intensive care unit nurses identified through the 12 Canadian provincial/territorial nursing associations responsible for professional regulation.

RESULTS:

A total of 842 nurses (24%) responded, and 802 surveys could be evaluated. Nurses were significantly less likely (P < .001) to use a pain assessment tool for patients unable to communicate (267 nurses, 33%) than for patients able to self-report (712 nurses, 89%). Significantly fewer respondents (P < .001) rated behavioral pain assessment tools as moderately to extremely important (595 nurses, 74%) compared with self-report tools (703 nurses, 88%). Routine (>50% of the time) discussion of pain scores during nursing handover was reported by 492 nurses (61%), and targeting of analgesia to a pain score or other assessment parameters by physicians by 333 nurses (42%). Few nurses (n = 235; 29%) were aware of professional society guidelines for pain assessment and management. Routine use of a behavioral pain tool was associated with awareness of published guidelines (odds ratio, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.7-3.7) and clinical availability of the tool (odds ratio, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.6-4.3).

CONCLUSIONS:

A substantial proportion of intensive care unit nurses did not use pain assessment tools for patients unable to communicate and were unaware of pain management guidelines published by professional societies.

PMID:
22751367
DOI:
10.4037/ajcc2012611
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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