Acute pain assessment and management in the prehospital setting, in the Western Cape, South Africa: a knowledge, attitudes and practices survey

Andrit Lourens, Peter Hodkinson, Romy Parker

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Abstract

Background: Acute pain is frequently encountered in the prehospital setting, and therefore, a fundamental aspect of quality emergency care. Research has shown a positive association between healthcare providers’ knowledge of, and attitudes towards pain and pain management practices. This study aimed to describe the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of emergency care providers regarding acute pain assessment and management in the prehospital setting, in the Western Cape, South Africa. The specific objectives were to, identify gaps in pain knowledge; assess attitudes regarding pain assessment and management; describe pain assessment and management behaviours and practices; and identify barriers to and enablers of pain care. Methods: A web-based descriptive cross-sectional survey was conducted among emergency care providers of all qualifications, using a face-validated Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of Pain survey.
Results: Responses of 100 participants were included in the analysis. The survey response rate could not be calculated. The mean age of respondents was 34.74 (SD 8.13) years and the mean years’ experience 10.02 (SD 6.47). Most respondents were male (69%), employed in the public/government sector (93%) as operational practitioners (85%) with 54% of respondents having attended medical education on pain care in the last 2 years. The mean percentage for knowledge and attitudes regarding pain among emergency care providers was 58.01% (SD 15.66) with gaps identified in various aspects of pain and pain care. Practitioners with higher qualifications, more years’ experience and those who did not attend medical education on pain, achieved higher scores. Alcohol and drug use by patients were the most selected barrier to pain care while the availability of higher qualified practitioners was the most selected enabler. When asked to record pain scores, practitioners were less inclined to assign scores which were self-reported by the patients in the case scenarios. The participant dropout rate was 35%. Conclusion: Our results suggest that there is suboptimal knowledge and attitudes regarding pain among emergency care providers in the Western Cape, South Africa. Gaps in pain knowledge, attitudes and practices were identified. Some barriers and enablers of pain care in the South African prehospital setting were identified but further research is indicated.
Original languageEnglish
Article number31
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Emergency Medicine
Volume20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

Keywords

  • Acute pain assessment and management
  • Analgesia
  • Knowledge, attitudes and practices
  • Prehospital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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