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Qualitative interview study of patients', ambulance practitioners' and emergency department clinicians' perceptions of prehospital pain management

By Iqbal Mohammad, P. A. Spaight and Niro Siriwardena

Abstract

Introduction\ud Pre-hospital pain management is increasingly important with most patients (80%) presenting to UK ambulance services in pain and 20% of patients reporting inadequate pain relief. Improving prehospital pain management is important for service quality. Our aim was to investigate perceptions of pain management from patients, ambulance and emergency care staff. \ud \ud Methods\ud Qualitative data were gathered through focus group (5) and interviews (28). Participants were purposively sampled from patients recently transported to hospital in pain, ambulance staff and emergency department clinicians. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed using thematic analysis to iteratively develop themes supported by data analysis software, MAXQDA. \ud \ud Results\ud Themes emerging from the data included: (a) expectations and beliefs (b) assessment methods (c) drug treatment (d) non-drug treatment and (f) improvement strategies for pain. Patients and staff expected pain to be relieved in the ambulance; instances of refusal of or inadequate analgesia were not uncommon because patients were concerned about drug side effects or, did not want to be transported. Pain was commonly assessed using a verbal pain score; clinical observation was often discordant with subjective experience. Communication difficulties, non-cooperation or influence of alcohol or drugs were found as barriers to pain assessment. Morphine and Entonox were commonly used to treat pain. Reassurance, positioning and immobilisation were used as alternatives to drugs. Suggestions to improve prehospital pain management included addressing barriers, modifying the available drugs and developing agreed multi-organisational pain management protocols supported by training for staff. \ud \ud Discussion\ud Patients and practitioners expected pain to be relieved in the ambulance. Suggestions to improve prehospital pain management included addressing identified barriers, modifying the available drugs, using non-drug measures and developing agreed multi-organisational pain management protocols supported by appropriate training for staff. Our findings will inform development of protocols and quality improvement programmes along the pathway of prehospital pain management

Topics: A300 Clinical Medicine
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lincoln.ac.uk:3448

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