Management of pain in pre-hospital settings
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Management of pain in pre-hospital settings

Michael Parker Lecturer in acute and critical care nursing, University of York
Antony Rodgers Paramedic, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Michael Parker and Antony Rodgers discuss ways to measure pain in trauma patients and ask why some practitioners provide patients with inadequate pain relief

Assessment and management of pain in pre-hospital care settings are important aspects of paramedic and clinical team roles. As emergency department waiting times and delays in paramedic-to-nurse handover increase, it becomes more and more vital that patients receive adequate pre-hospital pain relief. However, administration of analgesia can be inadequate and can result in patients experiencing oligoanalgesia, or under-treated pain. This article examines these issues along with the aetiology of trauma and the related socioeconomic background of traumatic injury. It reviews validated pain-assessment tools, outlines physiological responses to traumatic pain and discusses some of the misconceptions about the provision of effective analgesia in pre-hospital settings.

Emergency Nurse. 23, 3, 16-21. doi: 10.7748/en.23.3.16.e1445


Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 01 April 2015

Accepted: 19 May 2015