Abstract| Volume 14, ISSUE 4, SUPPLEMENT , S14, April 2013

Pain prevalence and pain management practices in a university hospital: a descriptive, point prevalence study

      Pain is both prevalent and severe in hospitals with subsequent delay in recovery and diminished quality of life. The aim of this descriptive, point prevalence study was to assess pain prevalence and pain management practices in a University hospital. Data were collected with the Icelandic version of the American Pain Society Patient Outcome Questionnaire and from medical charts. The time frame was the past 24 hours. Included were patients hospitalized for ≥24 hours, ≥18 years old, Icelandic speaking, alert, and able to participate. The response rate was 76.8%. Participants’ (N=368) age ranged from 18-100, the mean age was 67.6 years (SD = 17.4) and 50.6% were women. The mean worst pain severity (0-10 scale) was 4.5 (SD=3.2), and 80.4% of patients reported pain in the past 24 hours (≥1 on 0-10 scale). Severe pain (≥7 on 0-10) was reported by 33.0 % of participants. The mean worst pain severity of patients in pain was lower in men, 5.2 (SD=2.5) compared to women, 6.0 (SD=2.4), p<0.05. Pain prevalence was higher in women (87.2%) compared to men (78.1%), in patients 18-74 old (86.8%) compared to 75 years and older (77.6%), and on surgical services (90.5%) compared to medical (76.3%), p<0.05. The majority of patients (67.6%) received pain medications in the past 24 hours, and 34.4% used non-pharmacological methods to treat their pain, most often distraction (38.7%). Pain assessment with standardized methods was performed in 11.5% of participants, and in 37.2% the Pain Management Index was negative, indicating inadequate treatment. The pain prevalence was high in the hospital and a considerable proportion of patients had experienced severe pain in the past 24 hours. Standardized pain assessments were rare and pain treatment was insufficient in many instances. The pain management needs to be improved. The study was sponsored by the Icelandic Research Fund.