Despite the existence of internationally consistent guidelines for the management of pain, efficient regional anesthesia techniques, safe pain medications, and organizational structures, e.g., acute pain services, various studies have shown that pain is still common among both surgical and non-surgical in-patients.
The primary objective of this study was to evaluate, on a multi-center basis, the point pain prevalence of surgical and non-surgical in-patients. We further analyzed pain intensities, in-hospital pain triggers, pain-related impairments, pain assessments, patient information about pain, and patient satisfaction with pain therapy. This benchmark information should lead to better implementation of pain management strategies and thus improve health care quality.
We surveyed all adult in-patients in three general hospitals in Austria (general hospital Klagenfurt am Wörthersee, general hospital Villach, general hospital Wolfsberg) on the index day with two standardized questionnaires for both surgical and non-surgical patients.
Overall, a pain prevalence of 40.0%, with no statistically significant difference between surgical and non-surgical patients, was shown. Higher pain prevalence in female patients, high pain prevalence in the age group 18–30 years, and highest pain prevalence in the age group over 90 years old was found. Overall pain intensity was relatively low, but unacceptable maximum pain within the preceding 24 h was shown. Different in-hospital pain triggers like patient’s care and mobilization were found. Our survey has shown that pain has an impact on personal hygiene, mobilization, mood, sleep, and appetite. However, patients were very satisfied with their pain therapy.
Medical staff and nurses have to be sensitized to the urgent need to improve pain management strategies.