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Emerg Med J. 2015 Feb;32(2):149-52. doi: 10.1136/emermed-2013-202716. Epub 2013 Oct 11.

No gender-related bias in acute musculoskeletal pain management in the emergency department.

Author information

1
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Centre, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.
2
Emergency Medicine, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Centre, Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Patients' gender remains a contributor for bias in pain management. Implementation of standardised analgesic protocols has been shown to minimise bias in analgesic care. The purpose of this study was to assess whether gender-related bias in pain management exists in our emergency department (ED) setting, where a standardised pain management protocol based on patients' subjective pain rating is routinely used.

METHODS:

Pain management measures (ie, analgesia administration, waiting time for analgesia, pain relief and patients' satisfaction) were prospectively assessed in 328 patients (150 women and 178 men, average age 36±18 years) who were treated in our ED for acute musculoskeletal pain.

RESULTS:

Patients' subjective pain rating on arrival were similar for men and women (59±24 mm vs 61±26 mm, respectively; p=0.47). Interestingly, physicians using the same scale assessed the women's pain level to be higher than that of men (75±25 mm vs 63±22 mm, respectively; p<0.001) and higher than that of women's subjective pain rating (75±25 mm vs 61±26 mm respectively; p<0.001). Nevertheless, the rates of analgesia administration, waiting time for analgesia, pain relief and patient satisfaction were similar for both genders. Physicians' own gender did not affect analgesic care.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings suggest that a standardised pain management protocol based on patients' subjective pain rating may reduce gender-related bias in acute musculoskeletal pain management.

PMID:
24123168
DOI:
10.1136/emermed-2013-202716
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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