Incidence, Intensity, and Impact of Pain in Recently Discharged Adult Trauma Patients: An Exploratory Study

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Abstract

The long-term implications of pain following injury are well known; however, the immediate posthospitalization incidence and impact of pain is less understood. Inadequate pain relief during this time can delay return to work, leading to psychological stress and chronic pain. This exploratory study aimed to identify the incidence, intensity, and impact of injury-related pain in recently discharged adult trauma patients. During July to December 2014, 82 recently discharged adult trauma patients completed a questionnaire about their injury-related pain experience approximately 2 weeks posthospital discharge from a Level 1 trauma center. The questionnaire was developed using the Brief Pain Inventory, assessing severity, and impact of pain through a score from 0 to 10. The average age of participants was 52 years, the median Injury Severity Score was 6, and almost all (n = 80, 98%) experienced a blunt injury. The majority of participants reported pain since discharge (n = 80, 98%), with 65 (81%) still experiencing pain on the day of data collection. Normal work was most affected by pain, with an average score of 6.6 of 10, closely followed by effect on general activity (6.1 of 10) and enjoyment of life (5.7 of 10). The highest pain severity was reported by those with injuries from road trauma, with low Injury Severity Scores, who were female, and did not speak English at home. Pain in the recently discharged adult trauma patient is common, intense and interferes with quality of life. Identification of barriers to effective pain management and interventions to address these barriers are required.

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