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Nurse Education Can Improve Elderly Pain Monitoring

Study suggests training helps ensure timely documentation of effects of pain relief

THURSDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Barriers to timely documentation must be addressed and specific training given if nurses are to adhere to best practice in reporting patients' pain levels before and after analgesic treatment, according to a study in the January issue of the Journal of Emergency Nursing.

Susan E. Jackson, of Trinitas Hospital in Elizabeth, N.J., conducted a study of approximately 85 emergency department nurses who underwent an educational intervention on hospital pain policies and protocols and what documentation was required for pre-treatment and post-treatment pain levels of elderly hip fracture patients. Documentation was audited before and after the intervention.

The author found that, although the time to treatment documentation process was similar both before and after the intervention, the documentation of pain levels after analgesic treatment improved after the nurses were given education. After the educational intervention, there was a 28 percent increase in documentation compliance for post-treatment pain levels, from 42 percent (63 patients) before the intervention to 70 percent (106 patients) afterwards.

"This research study shows the positive aspects of educational interventions and documentation compliance for the patient with a hip fracture admitted to the emergency department," Jackson concludes. "The outcomes of this study will guide future compliance issues concerning documentation by applying the principles of educational preparation and reinforcement to provide incentives for improved staff performance."

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