The following is a summary of “A Quality Initiative Incorporating Tablet Technology to Facilitate Nonpharmacologic Pain Intervention Use in the Hospital” published in the October 2022 issue of Pain Management by Bazinski et al.

Nonpharmacologic pain interventions (NPIs) have gained prominence in multimodal pain management programs as a result of the opioid crisis, which has altered the norms and expectations around pain treatment. However, in the hospital setting, little is known regarding the use of NPIs. The goal of this quality improvement effort was to get patients and nurses on a single medical unit utilizing tablets to talk about NPIs and encourage their use. Acute care patients’ pain management experiences were evaluated using the American Pain Society’s Pain Outcomes Questionnaire-Revised, and nurses’ and aides’ opinions of NPIs were surveyed both before and after the intervention. Staff training, adding an NPI menu and tools to in-room tablets, and introducing a Comfort Card were among the measures taken.

An academic medical center in the Midwest implemented this Quality Improvement initiative on an adult medical unit with 18 beds. Both registered nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) from the same hospital were surveyed. 30 medical inpatients served as the baseline cohort, and their experiences were compared to those of 15 in the intervention group. Adults aged 18 and up who had been hospitalized for less than 72 hours and expressed a desire to participate verbally met the inclusion criteria. An educational program was developed and administered to nurses and nursing assistants on NPIs as part of the 8-week project. The American Pain Society’s Pain Outcomes Questionnaire, Revised (APS-POQ-R) was used to evaluate the patients’ prior pain management experiences and their current usage of NPIs following the pill intervention. A Comfort Card communication tool, an NPI menu and tools integrated onto bedside tablets, and staff education were all on the list of intended treatments.

Nurses recognize the value, safety, and evidence-based nature of NPIs, but they report difficulties in implementing them due to factors such as insufficient funding, time restrictions, and lack of provider support. While working on this initiative, staff and volunteers distributed 80 comfort items to 38 patients. Half of the awareness of their pain management optimisation (n=15) groups reported needing, to be made aware of their options for managing pain. Patients in both groups, baseline, and intervention, first denied utilizing NPIs, but subsequent evaluations revealed that 90% of baseline group patients and 87% of intervention group patients had in fact done so. The findings raise the possibility that educating both patients and nurses about NPIs in acute care may be beneficial. Tablet technology can improve patients’ use of NPIs while hospitalized, and nurses play a vital role in determining beneficial pain-related outcomes.