What is Patient Controlled Analgesia (PSA)?
As an in-patient, your physician may order a PCA pump as a way to manage your acute pain. It allows patients to give themselves intravenous pain medication as often as every ten minutes via a special pump with a push button control. Studies have shown that this improves patients’ pain relief while reducing the overall dose of narcotic pain medication. PCA pumps are very safe. Only the patient should press the PCA button.
Learn Ochsner's pain rating scale.
Ochsner uses a pain rating scale, an important tool in managing discomfort. With the scale, 0 means no pain and 10 means the worst pain. Your doctor and nurse will teach you to use the scale to describe the amount of pain you may be experiencing. The rating system will help the staff understand how you are feeling and help set a goal for pain relief. A separate pain scale is used for patients who are not able to say they feel pain. Ask your health care professional for further details.
What about possible dependence on pain medication?
A common concern about using medicines called opioids (narcotics) is addiction. Do not be concerned. Studies show that drug related addiction is rare in persons taking medications for pain management.
What about side effects?
Occasionally, patients experience mild side effects, such as itching or nausea, from medications. If these occur, tell your doctor or nurse immediately. Side effects can usually be managed.
What factors can influence pain?
Pain is unique to each person. Pain can be influenced by how you feel emotionally and spiritually. For example, if you are worrying about your personal problems, tell your healthcare professional. The staff may be able to help with these issues. Remember that your state of mind can make you feel worse or better.