There is a growing expectation of physicians to treat acute pain more aggressively in the emergency department (ED). This has contributed to an increase in opiate prescribing practices that has resulted in a crisis of medication abuse and misuse. The resultant backlash against physicians has created a void within the realm of acute pain management, as physicians search for a means to treat their patients in a way that is both empathetic and responsible. In an effort to combat this growing epidemic, alternative means of pain control are being explored. Patient-controlled analgesia devices (PCADs) have been used extensively in multiple fields of medicine and have demonstrated significant clinical utility for treating pain postoperatively; however there is a dearth of evidence to support their use within the acute care setting. Due to this lack of evidence, PCADs have not been widely implemented in the ED. Recent studies have shown that the use of PCADs may improve objective pain scores and increase both patient and nurse satisfaction while reducing the likelihood of developing chronic pain. The economic feasibility of this undertaking remains unclear; however there is strong evidence for the clinical utility of this modality to treat acute pain in this population.
Part of the book: From Conventional to Innovative Approaches for Pain Treatment