Results of implementing a pain management algorithm in intensive care unit patients: The impact on pain assessment, length of stay, and duration of ventilation


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Abstract

Purpose:This study aimed to measure the impact of implementing a pain management algorithm in adult intensive care unit (ICU) patients able to express pain. No controlled study has previously evaluated the impact of a pain management algorithm both at rest and during procedures, including both patients able to self-report and express pain behavior, intubated and nonintubated patients, throughout their ICU stay.Materials and methods:The algorithm instructed nurses to assess pain, guided them in pain treatment, and was implemented in 3 units. A time period after implementing the algorithm (intervention group) was compared with a time period the previous year (control group) on the outcome variables: pain assessments, duration of ventilation, length of ICU stay, length of hospital stay, use of analgesic and sedative medications, and the incidence of agitation events.Results:Totally, 650 patients were included. The number of pain assessments was higher in the intervention group compared with the control group. In addition, duration of ventilation and length of ICU stay decreased significantly in the intervention group compared with the control group. This difference remained significant after adjusting for patient characteristics.Conclusion:Several outcome variables were significantly improved after implementation of the algorithm compared with the control group.

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