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Improving analgesia prescription for trauma inpatients
  1. Sophie Stanger,
  2. Mark Dahill,
  3. Charlotte Hillary,
  4. Robert Whitham,
  5. Andrew Tasker
  1. Trauma and Orthopaedics, Great Western Hospital, Swindon, UK
  1. Correspondence to Sophie Stanger; sophie.stanger{at}


Patients value effective pain relief. Complications of inadequate pain control include increased risk of infection, decreased patient comfort and progression to chronic pain, all of which have significant socioeconomic consequence. Accessibility to analgesia is vital to effective administration. This improvement project aimed to improve the consistency and adequacy of analgesia prescribing for trauma inpatients over a 12-month period. Four PDSA (‘plan, do, study, act’) cycles resulted in sustained and significant improvements in analgesia prescription. The interventions included senior encouragement, teaching sessions, targeted inductions and implementation of a novel e-prescribing protocol. Prospective data and real-time discussion from stakeholder medical and management teams enabled iterative change to practice. Drug charts were reviewed for all trauma inpatients (n=276) over a 10-month period, recording all analgesia prescribed within 24 hours of admission. Each prescription was scored (maximum of 10 points) according to parameters agreed by the acute pain specialty leaders. An improving trend was observed in the analgesia score over the study period. Each intervention was associated with improved practice. Based on observed improvements, a novel electronic prescribing protocol was developed in conjunction with the information technology department, resulting in maximum scores for prescribing which were sustained over the final 3 months of the study. This was subsequently adopted as standard practice within the department. One year following completion of the project, a further 3 weeks of data were collected to assess long-term sustainability—scores remained 10 out of 10. Addressing the prescribing habits of junior doctors improved accessibility to analgesia for trauma patients. The electronic prescribing tool made prescribing straightforward and faster, and was the most successful intervention. Doctor satisfaction using this time-saving tool was high. Identifying a stakeholder within the information technology department proved pivotal to transferring the project aims into clinical practice.

  • continuous quality improvement
  • decision support, computerised
  • hospital medicine
  • pain
  • pdsa

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  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Contributors SS was involved in project design and planning, data collection, data analysis, intervention implementation and write-up. CH and RW were involved in data collection and intervention implementation. MD was involved in project design and planning, supervision and review of write-up. AT was involved in project supervision and review of write-up.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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