Installment #4- 𝘈 𝘙𝘦𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘈𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘗𝘊𝘈 𝘗𝘶𝘮𝘱𝘴

Patient controlled analgesia, or PCA, has proven to be a valuable tool in pain management.

As a med-surg nurse, I cared for many patients on PCA pumps. Most of these patients were post-op.

I wanted to call attention to a couple of points we should always remember when dealing with PCA pumps:

1) Double (and triple) check the settings. This applies whether you entered the settings or someone else did. Remember, a human has to manually enter the correct dosing information based on the order.

Since humans are fallible, 𝘢𝘭𝘸𝘢𝘺𝘴 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘪𝘵 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘣𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘯𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘴 𝘤𝘰𝘳𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘵. This is for safety and avoidance of overdose.

2) On a similar note, there is another crucial safety step to prevent overdose.

Remember that 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗢𝗡𝗟𝗬 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘀𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗽𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝘂𝘁𝘁𝗼𝗻. Family should not, and staff should not. ONLY the patient should.

Rationale? When the patient is sedated from the opiates, he or she will obviously not be able to press the button. Nor does he or she need to at that point.

If they are too sedated to press the button, then the pain is adequately controlled at that time. Giving more opiates than necessary leads to over sedation and could cause respiratory depression.

Sometimes, well-meaning family members will think the patient is in pain and will want to hit the button for them. But again, only the patient knows when they are hurting & need the medicine.

The pumps do have a built-in safety feature. This is a lock-out period between doses to help prevent getting too much.