Intensive care patients are subject to many factors that may influence the patients’ state of comfort or distress. Pain is the main cause of distress experienced by many adult intensive care patients, which can be caused by different factors like underlying disease, prolonged immobility and standard routine nurse care such as mobilization or chest drain removal. In previous studies, 45-83% of conscious intensive care patients rated their pain intensity as moderate to severe, at rest as well as during procedure. Also most sedated mechanically ventilated patients experience some degree of pain even in the absence of surgical incisions or trauma. Researchers have recognized that pain and inadequate pain relief are major causes of physiological adversity and emotional stress, disorientation and sleep deprivation. As a result, adequate use of analgesics may decrease morbidity and mortality and improve the quality of life in intensive care patients.

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D. Tibboel (Dick) , C.A.J. Knibbe (Catherijne)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Ahlers, S. (2012, June 8). Pain still hurts : pain assessment and pain management in intensive care patients . Retrieved from