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Pain. 1987 Jul;30(1):69-78.

Incidence and characteristics of pain in a sample of medical-surgical inpatients.


The purposes of this study were to determine the incidence and characteristics of pain in hospitalized patients and to explore the type and perceived effectiveness of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic therapies. Three hundred and fifty-three randomly selected patients reported experiencing pain during this hospitalization; 58% of these patients experienced excruciating pain. Fewer than half of the patients with pain had a member of the health care team ask them about their pain or note the pain in the patient record. The methods perceived as most effective in decreasing pain were analgesics, sleep, immobilization and distraction. As in earlier studies, the dose of analgesic administered over a 24-h period was less than a quarter of the amount ordered. This study concluded that (1) pain in hospitalized patients is more prevalent than has previously been reported, (2) patients with pain continue to receive inadequate dosages of analgesics, and (3) the identification and treatment of patients with pain remains a significant health care problem.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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