Pain Management: Association with Patient Satisfaction among Emergency Department Patients

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Patient satisfaction with emergency care is associated with timeliness of care, empathy, technical competence, and information delivery. Previous studies have demonstrated inconsistent findings regarding the association between pain management and patient satisfaction.


This study was undertaken to determine the association between pain management and patient satisfaction among Emergency Department (ED) patients presenting with acute painful conditions.


In this survey study, a standardized interview was conducted at the Emergency Department at the University of Toledo Medical Center in May–July 2011. Participants were asked to answer 18 questions pertaining to patient satisfaction. Additional data collected included demographic information, pain scores, and clinical management.


Among 328 eligible participants, 289 (88%) participated. The mean triage pain score on the verbal numeric rating scale was 8.2 and the mean discharge score was 6.0. The majority of patients (52%) experienced a reduction in pain of 2 or more points. Participants received one pain medication dose (44%), two medication doses (14%), three medication doses (5%), or four medication doses (2%). Reduction in pain scores of 2 or more points was associated with a higher number of medications administered. Reduction in pain scores was associated with higher satisfaction as scored on questions of patient perceptions of adequate assessment and response to pain, and treatment of pain.


There was a significant association between patient satisfaction and a reduction in pain of 2 or more points and number of medications administered. Effective pain management is associated with improved patient satisfaction among ED patients with painful conditions.



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