Dealing with Acute Pain and Anxiety in the Intensive Care Unit: Using Clinical Practice Guidelines

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Instructor: TBD

Length: 1.5 - 3 Hours (Program can be modified to fit this time span.)

Increased scrutiny has recently been directed at the appropriate titration of analgesic and sedative medications in critically ill patients, especially those being treated with mechanical ventilation. Patient comfort should be a primary goal in the ICU, including adequate pain control, minimal sedation and prevention/treatment of delirium. However, it can be very difficult to assess pain and anxiety in the critically ill patients who are often unable to speak. This program will review the 2002 Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) clinical practice guideline (CPG) recommendations for assessment and management of pain and anxiety in critical care settings. It will discuss current literature and controversies surrounding these issues. Finally, the program will provide an example of an implementation process by which these guidelines can be effectively implemented. At the end of this program, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the dangers of untreated pain and anxiety in critical care settings.
  • Identify the dangers of oversedation by sedatives and analgesics.
  • Identify one tool for assessing pain and one tool for assessing sedation in the ICU.
  • Based on the 2002 Society of Critical Care Medicine clinical practice guidelines, describe the most effective drug strategies for treatment of pain and anxiety in the ICU.

Audience: This session is for staff nurses (RNs and LPNs), educators, and advance practice nurses. There are no prerequisite skills for the session.