While acute musculoskeletal pain is a frequent complaint, its management is often neglected. An implementation of a nurse-initiated pain protocol based on the algorithm of a Dutch pain management guideline in the emergency department might improve this. A pre–post intervention study was performed as part of the prospective PROTACT follow-up study. During the pre- (15 months, n = 504) and post-period (6 months, n = 156) patients' self-reported pain intensity and pain treatment were registered. Analgesic provision in patients with moderate to severe pain (NRS ≥4) improved from 46.8% to 68.0%. Over 10% of the patients refused analgesics, resulting into an actual analgesic administration increase from 36.3% to 46.1%. Median time to analgesic decreased from 10 to 7 min (P < 0.05), whereas time to opioids decreased from 37 to 15 min (P < 0.01). Mean pain relief significantly increased to 1.56 NRS-points, in patients who received analgesic treatment even up to 2.02 points. The protocol appeared to lead to an increase in analgesic administration, shorter time to analgesics and a higher clinically relevant pain relief. Despite improvements, suffering moderate to severe pain at ED discharge was still common. Protocol adherence needs to be studied in order to optimize pain management.
Pierik, J., Berben, S. A., IJzerman, M. J., Gaakeer, M. I., Eenennaam, F. L., van Vugt, A. B., & Doggen, C. J. M. (2016). A nurse-initiated pain protocol in the ED improves pain treatment in patients with acute musculoskeletal pain. International emergency nursing, 27, 3-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ienj.2016.02.001