Nursing Staff, Patient, and Environmental Factors Associated with Accurate Pain Assessment
Published in: Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, v. 40, no. 5, Nov. 2010, p. 723-733
Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2010
CONTEXT: Although pain ranks highly among reasons for seeking care, routine pain assessment is often inaccurate. OBJECTIVES: This study evaluated factors associated with nurses (e.g., registered) and other nursing support staff (e.g., licensed vocational nurses and health technicians) discordance with patients in estimates of pain in a health system where routine pain screening using a 0-10 numeric rating scale (NRS) is mandated. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional visit-based cohort study that included surveys of clinic outpatients (n=465) and nursing staff (n=94) who screened for pain as part of routine vital sign measurement during intake. These data were supplemented by chart review. We compared patient pain levels documented by the nursing staff (N-NRS) with those reported by the patient during the study survey (S-NRS). RESULTS: Pain underestimation (N-NRS
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