Patient-Controlled Analgesia

Patient-Controlled Analgesia

Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) is a drug delivery system providing IV analgesia, usually morphine, when the patient presses a call bell at the end of a cord. Analgesia is provided at the level and time needed by the patient. The device prevents the patient from accidentally overdosing by imposing a lockout time between doses, usually 6 to 10 minutes. During this interval, the patient won’t receive any analgesic, even if he pushes the button.

PCA offers several advantages. It eliminates the need for IM analgesics, provides pain relief tailored to each patient’s size and pain tolerance, gives the patient a sense of control over pain, and
allows the patient to sleep at night with minimal daytime drowsiness. It also improves postoperative deep breathing, coughing, and ambulation and reduces opioid use compared with patients who don’t receive PCA.

PCA is typically given to patients postoperatively as well as to terminal cancer patients and others with chronic diseases. To receive PCA therapy, a patient must be mentally alert, able to understand and comply with instructions and procedures, and have no history of allergy to the analgesic. PCA therapy is contraindicated in patients with limited respiratory reserve, a history of drug abuse or chronic sedative or tranquilizer use, or a psychiatric disorder.1

Preparation of Equipment

Several types of PCA systems are available, so follow the manufacturer’s instructions for setting up the device. Obtain the medication and verify the medication order.2 Gather equipment and bring it to the patient’s bedside. Plug the PCA device into an electrical outlet; if the device is battery-operated, make sure that the battery is fully charged and working.

Jul 21, 2016 | Posted by in NURSING | Comments Off on Patient-Controlled Analgesia

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