Mordin M, Anastassopoulos K, van Breda A, Vallow S, Zhang M, Gargiulo K, Hewitt D, Olson W, Sikirica V. Clinical staff resource use with intravenous patient-controlled analgesia in acute postoperative pain management: results from a multicenter, prospective, observational study. J Perianesth Nurs. 2007 Aug 1;22(4):243-55.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate hospital resource utilization associated with intravenous patient-controlled analgesia (IV-PCA), with a focus on nursing, pharmacy, and central supply/engineering time spent from a hospital perspective. Data were collected during a multicenter (29 sites), prospective observational study in the United States of subjects who underwent total knee replacement (TKR), total hip replacement (THR), or abdominal hysterectomy (AH) and were administered analgesia through IV PCA for the management of acute postoperative pain. Nursing staff recorded the IV PCA-related tasks they performed for a subject and the duration of time required to perform each task from initial IV PCA set-up to discontinuation. Hospital administrators, nursing managers, central supply/engineering staff, and pharmacy directors were interviewed to obtain data regarding other IV PCA labor resource use. The distribution of surgery type among the 457 subjects was 31.1% THR, 35.9% TKR, and 33.0% AH. The average duration of IV PCA use was 32.6 hours. Nurses reported having to perform an average of 39.6 IV PCA–related tasks, which required an average of 67.4 minutes. The most common IV PCA–related tasks were evaluating pump use and settings, assessing the IV site, evaluating and addressing analgesia side effects, instructing/reinstructing the subject on use, administering supplemental pain medications, assisting with self-care or moving the subject, and assisting the subject with use of the button. Pharmacists reported that they spend approximately 7.9 minutes and pharmacy technicians spend approximately 9.8 minutes, per subject daily course of IV PCA therapy, on the following tasks: checking and verifying the order, doing inventory of the analgesia, preparing the analgesia (ie, filling reservoirs), checking the analgesia, and delivering the analgesia to the nursing units. In addition, pharmacists and RNs spend an average of 47.3 and 40.7 minutes per year in IV PCA–related training. Intravenous patient-controlled analgesia postoperative care requires coordination and involvement of numerous hospital departments. It is labor intensive and involves numerous time-consuming tasks, oversight of IV PCA, and ongoing training. Alternative methods of patient-controlled pain management with similar efficacy that reduces labor resource utilization may be warranted.

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