Implementation of a Referral Criteria for Acute Pain Service on a Post-Surgical Inpatient Unit
AuthorSmith Azarcon, Sharon-Marie
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AbstractBackground One in every four Americans experience pain for greater than 24 hours. Pain is a major reason Americans access the health care system. Uncontrolled pain can lead to longer hospital stays, increased rate of readmissions, and increased risk of arising complications. Acute Pain Service (APS) is a team that can manage patient’s pain during the hospital stay. APS is found to decrease length of hospital stay and improve pain management in patients. A referral criteria instrument is a tool that guides nurses in assessing patients that meet criteria for APS. This referral criteria instrument can assist in increasing the number of APS consults. Local Problem Low APS consults were observed to be a practice problem in a post-surgical unit of a community hospital. In addition, the unit was observed to have uncontrolled pain as indicated by low patient satisfaction scores collected from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey. The hospital has an approved referral criteria instrument that nurses could access to determine if patients meet criteria for a referral to Acute Pain Service (APS). However, nurses were resistant to the APS team due to the misperception of pain medication administration and nurses believing that utilizing APS for pain management led to opioid addiction. Interventions This quality improvement project took place over a 14-week period. During weeks 1-2, training on referral criteria via informal meetings was given to the clinical site representative, unit manager, pilot team (i.e. nurses on the unit), and pain champions on the unit. Printed copies of the referral criteria instrument were posted in the nurses’ station, nurses’ break room and walls of the bathroom. Implementation of the project occurred during weeks 3-10. The pilot team was reminded to utilize the referral criteria instrument daily. Patients that met criteria for APS were discussed during daily interdisciplinary rounds. Weeks 11-14 consisted of data collection and analysis for the project. Results The post implementation of the referral criteria instrument revealed an increase in the percentage of patients consulted to APS. Post-implementation results showed that 53.7 % of patients were consulted to APS, compared to pre-implementation results of 25.3% of patients consulted to APS. Findings revealed that the difference was statistically significant using the Chi-Squared test, p = 0.002 (p< 0.05). Conclusion The implementation of the referral criteria for APS was beneficial to the unit based on the increase of APS consults. The percentage of consults to APS post implementation was 53.7 %. This was a 28.4% increase of APS consults on the unit. Training on the referral criteria instrument and understanding the purpose of APS gave positive outcomes for the unit by increasing APS consults on patient that met criteria for APS. In addition, the increase in APS consults should furthermore lead to increased patient satisfaction and increased HCAHPS scores.
Keywordacute pain services
referral criteria instrument
Referral and Consultation