Pain Treatment Needs Improvement in German Hospitals

September 22, 2010

More than 80% of hospitalized patients suffer more severe pain than necessary in Germany.

An interim report of the Pain-Free Hospital Project, “Schmerzfreies Krankenhaus,” reveals that more than 80% of hospitalized patients suffer more severe pain than necessary.

The report was produced by Christoph Maier, of (Bochum Unicersity Hospital, in Bochum, Germany, and coauthors and was published in the current issue of Deutsches Arxteblatt International. The project began in 2003 with the goal of improving pain management in hospitals across Germany.

The team evaluated anonymous questionnaires filled out by approximately 2250 surgical patients and nearly 1000 non-surgical patients from 25 German hospitals. The questionnaires were filled out from 2004 to 2006. Study participants were interviewed about the intensity of their pain and the effectiveness of their pain therapy.

The results revealed that approximately one-third of both the surgical and the non-surgical patients complained of moderate to severe pain at rest. More than half of each group complained of moderate to severe movement-related pain.

In total, the results revealed that 56% of participating patients said they had unbearable pain. More than 55% said their pain therapy in the hospital was unsatisfactory.

The authors concluded that there is a need for improvement in pain therapy in German hospitals.