A call to streamline pain management among post-operative patients: Insights from a prospective cross-sectional study at a Secondary Health Facility in Kenya
Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of pain management among post-operative inpatients at the Thika Level 5 Hospital (TL5H).
Design, setting and study subjects: This was a prospective cross-sectional study conducted among post-operative in-patients at the TL5H, a secondary health facility located in Thika sub-county, Kiambu County, Central region of Kenya.
Main outcome measures: Achievement of effective pain management, as confirmed by the patients’ satisfaction, and modalities of analgesia used, were the major outcomes that were reported.
Results: At rest, 79 (70%) of the patients experienced distressing pain compared to 30 (26%) patients who reported having discomforting pain. Most patients (80, 71%) reported being satisfied with their pain management. Tramadol was the most frequent analgesic (50, 44%) used post-operatively. Other analgesic options comprised of morphine (21, 19%) as well as tramadol with concurrent NSAID (18, 16%). Nearly a third of the patients (36, 32%) did not use any alternative non- pharmacological method of pain management.
Conclusion: Our study found a paradoxical high satisfaction in the pain management experience by the patients as most of them had inadequately managed pain. Further research into establishing barriers to effective pain management is warranted to improve post-operative pain experiences among patients at the hospital. Developing pain management and monitoring protocols should be prioritized to ensure desirable post-operative analgesic outcomes.