Decreasing pain and length of stay in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit, (PACU), by Implementing the ASPAN Pain and Comfort Guidelines
Poorly managed pain in the immediate postoperative period frequently extends the patient's length of stay in the post anesthesia care unit (PACU) and may lead to increased costs for an organization. Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines are emerging as one means to improve pain management practices. The American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nursing (ASPAN) Pain and Comfort Guidelines were developed to fill the gap for perioperative nursing pain management practices within the perioperative continuum (Krenzischek & Wilson, 2003). The overall objective of this project is to decrease PACU length of stay (LOS), related to pain, by improving the pain management performance of nurses in the PACU through the implementation of the ASPAN Pain and Comfort Guidelines. The specific aims of this project are to:Aim 1: Evaluate the impact of implementing the American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nursing (ASPAN) pain and comfort guidelines in a PACU Aim 2: Compare the differences in patient length LOS stay in the PACU pre and post implementation of the ASPAN pain and comfort guidelines.Aim 3: Determine the cost-effectiveness of implementing the ASPAN pain and comfort guidelines in the PACUThis pre and post implementation outcome project was conducted in a hospital that performs surgery on, approximately, 800 patients per month. Descriptive statistics was used to analyze the data obtained from this project. The findings show that the overall pain rating at time of discharge decreased post implementation; increase documentation of patient/family pain management education; and there was a decrease in PACU LOS from 2.95 hours pre-implementation to 1.70hrs post-implementation. Furthermore, expansion of this project may lead to a greater realization in cost savings related to a sustained decrease in the LOS.
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