[Skip to content]

Print this page

Acute pain

Acute pain is defined as pain of short duration; it has an identifiable cause and a predictable prognosis. It is usually of rapid or recent onset, and is often severe.

Acute pain is protective, acting as a warning mechanism and, if due to trauma, can limit movement and therefore help to prevent further injury.

The management of acute pain is typically with analgesics (pain killers) and is relieved when healing takes place.

In the post operative period acute pain serves no useful purpose and early intervention and effective management can influence clinical outcome and improve the patient experience.

The acute pain team consists of 3 specialist acute pain nurses with a lead consultant anaesthetist.  The team deals primarily with acute in-patient pain issues, the majority being perioperative surgical management, but also including pain management in non-surgical patients. 

It has a responsibility for creating trust guidelines for acute pain management and education at all levels, both through face to face and e-learning, to improve awareness of the importance of assessment and safe management of pain therapies. 

Audit and research are also part of the remit of the team which acts as a point of coordination for staff interested in acute pain issues across the trust.

The acute pain nurses deal with daily pain referrals from all ward areas as well as taking a proactive role in management of acute post-op pain on the step down unit.