Pain Management in a Prehospital Emergency Setting: A Retrospective Observational Study
Journal of Pain Research
Acute pain is a prevalent symptomatology in prehospital emergency care. Although inadequate assessment and treatment of acute pain are associated with various complications, about 43% of adults suffering from pain are undertreated. This phenomenon is poorly studied, and limited data are available in the literature. The objective was to investigate the pain management in a prehospital emergency health-care setting, verifying pain assessment, pharmacological treatment adherence and the
... ss of pain relief therapy. Patients and Methods: A retrospective observational study was conducted in a sample including all adults treated by the professionals of nurse-staffed ambulances and medical cars in an Italian Emergency Medical Services (EMS) from 1 January 2019 to 31 May 2019. We collected both demographic information and Numeric Rating Scale scores, which evaluated presence and intensity of pain, from the EMS paper forms. All analyses were performed using SPSS, version 27. Results: The study sample was composed of 629 people: 310 males (49%) and 319 females (51%), with an average age of 64.2±22 years (range 18-108). Pain information was collected in 75.5% (n = 475) of our sample; among them 222 patients (46.7%) suffered from pain. We recorded that 79.7% (n = 177) of the subjects with pain received no pharmacological treatment, and in almost all of the treated cases they did not adhere to the analgesia algorithm in use. Among those who were pharmacologically treated, pain statistically significantly decreased in intensity, from before to after, in both emergency vehicles (nurse-staffed ambulances pre m = 8.36±0.9 vs post m = 4.18±2.2, p<0.001; medical cars pre m = 7.25±1.7 vs post m = 3.50±2.6, p<0.001). Subsequently, pain was only reascertained in 24.3% of subjects. Conclusion: Our findings confirm that pain is a prevalent symptom in prehospital patients, especially in the younger age range, but that it remains an underrecognized, underestimated, and undertreated symptom with the risk of causing worse health outcomes.