Evaluating the Feasibility and Effect of Using a Hospital-Wide Coordinated Approach to Introduce Evidence-Based Changes for Pain Management

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This action research project explored the feasibility and effect of implementing a hospital-wide coordinated approach to improve the management of pain. The project used a previously developed model to introduce three evidence-based changes in pain management. Part of this model included the introduction of 30 pain resource nurses (PRNs) to act as clinical champions for pain at a local level. Both quantitative and qualitative measures were used to assess the feasibility and effect of the changes introduced. Quantitative data were gathered through a hospital-wide document review and assessment of the knowledge and attitude of the PRNs at two time points: time 1 before the introduction of the PRNs and time 2 near completion of the project (11 months later). A statistically significant improvement in the documentation of pain scores on admission and each nursing shift was apparent. However, no difference was found in the percentage of patients who had been prescribed opioids for regular pain relief that had also been prescribed and dispensed a laxative/aperient. Neither were any statistically significant decreases in patient pain scores observed. An assessment of the knowledge and attitudes of the PRNs showed an improvement from time 1 to time 2 that was statistically significant. The qualitative data revealed that despite the barriers encountered, the role was satisfying for the PRNs and valued by other hospital staff. Overall, the results revealed that the new model of change incorporating PRNs was a useful and effective method for introducing and sustaining evidence-based organizational change.

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