Evaluation of Prescribing and Administering As-Needed Pain Medications Based on Pain Severity Scores

  • Jenna Stearns University Hospitals Richmond Medical Center
  • Christine Cortese University Hospitals Richmond Medical Center
  • Jennifer Remington University Hospitals Richmond Medical Center
  • Nirav Patil University Hospitals Richmond Medical Center
Keywords: Pain management; Pain assessment; Prescribing; Administering; Inpatient; Opioids


Pain is a common symptom reported by patients admitted to hospitals in both medical and surgical units. Due to the subjective and multidimensional nature of pain, it should be assessed regularly to ensure patient pain control. Suboptimal prescribing of opioids and other pain medications contribute to the inadequate treatment of pain. To combat the wide variability and response to pain medications, many providers prescribe as-needed range orders of pain medications to cover each pain severity. These range orders enable necessary and safe adjustments in dose based on individual responses to treatment. Currently, there are no studies analyzing the prescribing of pain medications based on pain severity, leaving a gap in literature in inpatient pain management. The purpose of this retrospective cohort study was to evaluate the appropriateness of prescribing as-needed pain medications based on the patient’s pain severity scores throughout their hospital stay at a 125-bed community hospital in Northeast Ohio on the general medicine floor. Secondarily, this study also evaluated the administration of pain medications by nursing staff based on patient-reported pain severity scores. Statistical analyses including Chi-square tests, t-tests, Fisher’s Exact tests and descriptive statistics were utilized to determine the significance of the data collected. This study found that there was a statistically significant difference between appropriately (47.4%) and inappropriately (52.6%) prescribed pain medications (P<0.001). There was also a statistically significant difference between appropriately (40.5%) and inappropriately (59.5%) administered pain medications (P<0.001). Pharmacists hope to improve pain management practices by providing education to both providers and nurses to prevent poor patient outcomes and uncontrolled pain.


Download data is not yet available.
Received 2021-06-16
Accepted 2021-07-20
Published 2021-07-30
Pharmacy Practice & Practice-Based Research