Post-operative pain management: a literature review

Authors

  • ALISON KITSON BSc(Hons) DPhil RGN FRCN

    Corresponding author
    1. Director Royal College of Nursing Dynandc Quality Improvement Programme, London and National Institute for Nursing, Oxford, UK
      Professor Alison Kitson, National Institute fur Nursing, Radcliffe Infirmary, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HE, UK.
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  • *The literature review was undertaken as part of a 3–year Department of Health-funded study called the ODySSSy Project where a nursing quality-assurance system was being evaluated in relation to its effect on nursing actions and patient outcomes on the quality of post-operative pain management in 10 acute surgical wards.

Professor Alison Kitson, National Institute fur Nursing, Radcliffe Infirmary, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HE, UK.

Summary

  • The appropriateness of any set of criteria generated to measure the quality of a particular intervention is dependent upon a thorough, up-to-date assessment of the current state-of-the-art. Few areas in nursing have received as much research attention as that of pain control, particularly post-operative pain control.
  • The following review of the literature* on this subject complements earlier reviews undertaken by Seers (1988) by organizing the information according to four distinct categories, namely environmental issues, nursing actions, patient outcomes and a review of a number of pain measures. This particular format was selected in order to help in the development of structure, process and outcome criteria on the topic of post-operative pain management.
  • The section on measurement is to inform practitioners about pain-assessment charts and provide ideas about auditing this area.

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