Background and Aims Pain is commonly experienced by patients on the adult intensive care unit (AICU). Due to communication barriers, it is often challenging to assess the characteristics and severity of pain during a patient’s AICU admission. To address this, we retrospectively evaluated patient self-reported experiences of pain during their AICU admission.
Methods Thirty-four patients were included in the survey after discharge from the AICU in December 2019. This included a range of medical, surgical and traumatic presentations. Thirty-two out of 34 patients completed a written questionnaire evaluating their experience of pain during their recent AICU admission. Patients were asked to grade pain on a verbal rating scale from none, mild, moderate and severe. A composite body map was generated, summarising the frequency of pain reports at different anatomical locations (Figure 1).
Results Of the 32 patients included in the study, 78% did not take regular analgesia prior to their hospital admission. During their AICU admission, 68% reported that their worst pain had been severe, and 55% reported that their pain had been moderate-severe in intensity on an average day. The most frequently cited painful experiences were rolling (30%), catheterisation (13%), and ventilation (13%). Interestingly, patients reported more pain on their right-sided limbs, possibly related to moving and rolling practices.
Conclusions Our data highlights the prevalence and severity of pain on the AICU with a clear link to commonly performed procedures, especially moving and rolling. This suggests that pre-procedural analgesia may be an effective method for improving pain control on the AICU.
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