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Pain intensity and pain self-management strategies following discharge after surgery: An Australian prospective observational study

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 07:00 authored by Felicity VealFelicity Veal, Angus ThompsonAngus Thompson, Perry, LJ, Luke BereznickiLuke Bereznicki, Gregory PetersonGregory Peterson

What is known and objective: Up to 80% of patients experience acute pain following surgery. This study aimed to improve the current understanding about the strategies individuals use to self-manage pain following discharge after surgery, stratified by pain intensity.

Methods: A prospective observational study conducted at the Royal Hobart Hospital, Australia, between November 2014 and March 2015. Eligible participants were 18 years or older and had undergone surgery requiring an incision. Patients who had undergone surgery related to cancer, childbirth or multitrauma or those with dementia were excluded. Participants were identified through hospital records and mailed a survey within 1 week of discharge. This survey asked about post-discharge pain, management strategies utilized and advice on self-management of pain provided during their inpatient stay.

Results: Five hundred surveys were mailed, with 169 (33.8%) being returned. The median age of the respondents was 57 years (range: 18-92 years); 53% were female. The majority (89.3%) of participants recalled receiving information about pain self-management. Analgesic use was reported by 95.4% of participants in the week following discharge. Moderate-severe pain was reported by 80 participants (47.3%); 63.7% and 11.3% of patients reported underuse and overuse of analgesics compared to what was recommended, respectively.

What is new and conclusion: A high proportion of patients underused analgesics despite experiencing moderate-severe pain. Although the vast majority of participants reported receiving advice regarding pain self-management, this did not appear to translate into optimal pain management after discharge. Different approaches to the provision of advice appear to be required.


Publication title

Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics








School of Pharmacy and Pharmacology


Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Other health not elsewhere classified

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