Pain management is a key issue in health care. Providers adopt promising technological developments, like Acute Pain Service, at differing speeds, with countries, such as the USA and Germany taking the lead. Where Hungary stands is unknown, as the practice of pain management has not yet been comprehensively reviewed in that country.
To explore the practice of postoperative pain management in Hungarian hospitals by addressing the questions of who is responsible for it, who measures pain and how, what kind of pain relief technologies are used, and who takes care of patients during duty hours.
We carried out a survey covering Hungarian hospitals with operational license for surgery, traumatology, orthopedics and anesthesiology between December 2019 and March 2020. The response rate was 72%, and we analyzed 135 questionnaires.
We identified only 2 hospitals with an Acute Pain Service. In the majority of hospitals, the attending physician orders pain relief therapy. During duty hours the surgeon on duty takes care of pain management in 52.1% of the cases. Among pain relief therapies, intravenous infusions (74.1%) and oral medication (67.4%) are the most frequent. Ward nurses measure postoperative pain (77.8%) with unidimensional scales. According to 59.7% of the respondents, pain is not measured and documented at rest. Written protocols are available in 34.4% of the departments.
Compared with other countries, pain management in Hungary lags behind with significant room for improvement. Development and implementation of pain management protocols with appropriate education is the key intervention point.

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