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Pain Management Program Improves Pain Assessment

Overall pain scores did not improve among hospitalized adults, however

TUESDAY, May 9 (HealthDay News) -- A pain management instrument that includes enhanced pain assessments and nursing staff updates improves some aspects of pain management in hospitalized adults, but not overall pain scores, according to one of the largest studies of its kind reported in the May 8 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

R. Sean Morrison, M.D., from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues conducted a controlled trial of three pain-management interventions staggered into two blocks of matched units at a 1,171-bed hospital. The interventions included "education, standardized pain assessment using a one- or four-item (enhanced) pain scale, audit and feedback of pain scores to nursing staff, and a computerized decision support system."

The study included 3,964 adults and showed that using both the enhanced pain scale, and audit and feedback improved pain assessment rates to 64 percent and 85 percent, respectively, compared with 32 percent and 64 percent in controls. The enhanced pain scale also increased analgesic use. The computerized decision support system improved pain assessment when audit and feedback was not used.

Despite the interventions, pain scores did not improve. "Future interventions should be directed toward altering physician behavior related to titration of opioid analgesics," the authors conclude.

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