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Keywords:

  • pain;
  • postoperative;
  • quality indicators;
  • instrument development;
  • psychometrics

Development of an instrument to measure strategic and clinical quality indicators in postoperative pain management

Aim of the study. To develop and evaluate psychometric properties, that is reliability and validity, of an instrument to measure strategic and clinical quality indicators in postoperative pain management.

Background. Strategic and clinical quality indicators in postoperative pain management were previously developed from a tentative model of important aspects of surgical nursing care and assessed to have content validity, that is to be essential for the quality of care, realistic to carry out and possible for nurses to use to influence management.

Methods. The quality indicators were converted to items suitable for a patient questionnaire and were scored on a 5-point scale, with higher scores indicating higher quality of care. Inpatients from five surgical wards took part in this study on their second postoperative day. The response rate was 96% and the average ages of the female (n=120) and the male (n=78) respondents were 62 and 63 years, respectively.

Results. Items in the total scale had an average inter-item correlation >0·20 and an item-total correlation >0·30. Cronbach’s coefficient α was 0·84 for the total scale. Four factors entitled ‘communication’, ‘action’, ‘trust’ and ‘environment’ emerged from an orthogonal factor analysis, with a cumulative variance of 61·4%. Patients who received epidural analgesia had higher scores on the total scale compared with those who did not receive epidural analgesia. Patients who reported more pain than expected had lower scores on the total scale compared with those who did not report more pain than expected. Correlation between the total scale and an overall pain relief satisfaction question was 0·53.

Conclusion. The results suggest initial support for the new instrument as a measure of strategic and clinical quality indicators in postoperative pain management, but it must be further refined, tested and evaluated.