Analgesia : a prospective audit on patient satisfaction with postoperative analgesia in a South African tertiary hospital

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Background: The vast majority of patients will be admitted to general wards after their surgical procedures. Ward staff will provide the prescribed analgesia. The researchers would like to ascertain whether the patient population is satisfied with the analgesia that they receive. Methods: Fifty-two postoperative patients consented to taking part in a prospective audit that enquired about pain using a Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) on discharge from the theatre recovery room as well as on day one postoperatively. Additionally patients were asked to indicate whether the analgesia was 'good', 'fair' or 'poor' and were interviewed about their expectations regarding pain. Results: The mean age was 45 (SD 14) years and median surgical duration was 100 (IQR 75- 150) minutes. Mean NRS score was 3 (SD 3) on discharge from recovery as well as on day one postoperatively. 'Good' analgesia was reported by 69.2% of patients and 71.2% reported that they had less pain than expected. The median time from recovery room discharge to first dose of analgesia was 135 (IQR 65-400) minutes. Conclusion: Sixty seven per cent of patients indicated that they were satisfied with the analgesia provided. There are, however, still problems with long waiting times to first doses of analgesia. The relatively low overall pain scores and high levels of satisfaction are encouraging.

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