postoperative analgesia

Last reviewed 01/2018

The postoperative patient should have the right to as pain-free recovery as is possible. Apart from the obvious decrease in suffering, analgesia has the benefits of improving recovery as coughing and mobility are facilitated. Hence, hospital stay may be reduced and costs minimised.

At present, the relief of postoperative pain is not particularly well handled. One survey revealed that 94% of patients described their postoperative experiences as moderately or very painful.

A Joint Working Party of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons and Anaesthetists, amongst other points, recommended:

  • improvements in hospital staff education and attitudes to postoperative pain relief
  • the responsibility for analgesia should be the task of one named member of staff who should set up an acute management team