To determine whether a protocol to start patient-controlled analgesia
(PCA) in the emergency department (ED-PCA) would shorten the length of time between narcotic bolus doses and PCA initiation as compared with standard inpatient initiation of PCA (IP-PCA). Also, to compare patient satisfaction and inpatient length of stay for the 2 groups.
To improve care, we developed a protocol to institute ED-PCA after an initial bolus dose of narcotics. This was a nonrandomized pilot study. Patient records were reviewed for location of PCA initiation, time from narcotic bolus to initiation of PCA, and length of stay. A brief patient/parent satisfaction survey was collected.
Sixty-nine records were reviewed. Patients treated using the protocol had initiation of PCA therapy within 35 ± 7 minutes from the last bolus narcotic dose in the emergency department versus 211 ± 17 minutes for nonprotocol patients. Forty-eight of 50 patient surveys indicated preference for starting ED-PCA; 2 did not have a preference. No complications were identified in either group.
A protocol to initiate PCA for sickle cell patients in a pediatric emergency department shortened the time of its initiation and was preferred by patients.