Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Pain Assessment and Management Considerations for Critically Ill Adults

·         Many critically ill patients are unable to self-report due to multiple factors such as mechanical ventilation, administration of high doses of sedative agents, and altered levels of consciousness.

·          They are exposed to many painful procedures during hospitalization in a critical care unit, in addition to their reason for admission often related to pain.

·         A high proportion of critically ill patients experience moderate to severe pain. Therefore, pain management includes the use of opioids, mainly through parenteral route.

·         Continuous monitoring of physiologic parameters is necessary to ensure adequate surveillance of patients.

·         Multi-modal approaches are strongly recommended but have to be carefully established taking according to the complex patient’s condition and use of other medications.

·         Non-pharmacological interventions are also suggested to maximize pain relief.

Clinical Management
Assessment and Management of Pain - 3rd Edition
Point of Care Resources