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  1. Pizzi, Lois J.
  2. Bates, Madalyn
  3. Chelly, Jacques E.
  4. Goodrich, Carlyn J.


BACKGROUND: Multimodal pain management for surgery patients may include the use of a combination of scheduled oral pain medications with as-needed (PRN) oral opioids. Multiple concurrent time demands on nursing staff frequently cause delays in the delivery of oral PRN pain medication compromising pain management.


PURPOSE: Postoperative pain control was compared using a wireless oral patient-controlled analgesia device for the delivery of oxycodone with a control group receiving PRN oxycodone from nursing staff.


METHODS: Thirty patients were prospectively randomized into each of 2 groups after total hip arthroplasty. Patient demographics, pain scores, drug dose data, and physical therapy data were collected from chart reviews. Additional data were obtained from patient and nursing surveys.


RESULTS: Device patients recorded statistically lower pain scores while taking lower doses of oxycodone on postoperative Day 1 as compared with the control group. Patient surveys indicated that those in the device group reported lower pain scores 24 hours prior to discharge, albeit not statistically different from the control group. Men in the device group reported statistically lower pain scores with physical therapy than men in the control group. Findings from the nursing survey indicate that nurses favored the device over nurse-administered PRN.


CONCLUSION: Patients using the wireless patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) (oral) device had less pain at rest and with activity (men) while taking lower doses of oxycodone with each dose. Nursing surveys indicated that nursing staff in this orthopedic postoperative unit found the device easy to use, reliable, and efficient. They also recommended its adoption for those capable of using it.