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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Education On Prehospital Pain Management: A Follow Up Study

  • Author(s): French, Scott C.
  • Chan, Shu B.
  • Ramaker, Jill
  • et al.

Introduction: The most common reason patients seek medical attention is pain. However, there may be significant delays in initiating prehospital pain therapy. In a 2001 quality improvement (QI) study, we demonstrated improvement in paramedic knowledge, perceptions, and management of pain. This follow-up study examines the impact of this QI program, repeated educational intervention (EI), and effectiveness of a new pain management standard operating procedure.

Methods: 176 paramedics from 10 urban and suburban fire departments and two private ambulance services participated in a 3-hour EI. A survey was performed prior to the EI and repeated one month after the EI. We reviewed emergency medical services (EMS) runs with pain complaints prior to the EI and one month after the EI. Follow-up results were compared to our prior study. We performed data analysis using descriptive statistics and chi-square tests.

Results: The authors reviewed 352 surveys and 438 EMS runs with pain complaints. Using the same survey questions, even before the EI, 2007 paramedics demonstrated significant improvement in the knowledge (18.2%; 95% CI 8.9%, 27.9%), perceptions (9.2%; 95% CI 6.5%, 11.9%), and management of pain (13.8%; 95% CI 11.3%, 16.2%) compared to 2001. Following EI in 2007, there were no significant improvements in the baseline knowledge (0%; 95% CI 5.3%, 5.3%) but significant improvements in the perceptions of pain principles (6.4%; 95% CI 3.9%, 9.0%) and the management of pain (14.7%; 95% CI 11.4%, 18.0%).

Conclusion: In this follow up study, paramedics’ baseline knowledge, perceptions, and management of pain have all improved from 6 years ago. Following a repeat educational intervention, paramedics further improved their field management of pain suggesting paramedics will still benefit from both initial and also ongoing continuing education on the topic of pain management. [West J Emerg Med 2013;14(2):96-102.]


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