The IMPEDE study: Improving Management of Pain in Emergency Departments


National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Doctoral Research Fellowship


Fiona Sampson, Medical Care Research Unit.
Tel no: 0114 2220687


Summary of research

Pain is a presenting symptoms in around 70% of visits to emergency departments. Inadequate pain management in emergency departments is a widespread problem but little is known about why emergency departments do not provide adequate and timely analgesia. This research aims to identify factors affecting pain management and interventions for improving pain management within emergency departments using a mixed methods approach with three phases.

The first phase involves undertaking a search of the literature to identify interventions that improve the provision of pain relief in emergency departments and to identify factors that affect the provision of pain management. The second phase involves case studies of three emergency departments in England with different levels of pain management. This will involve undertaking direct non-participant observation of patients and staff within the emergency department and undertaking around 20 semi-structured interviews with staff and adult patients at each site to understand processes of pain management, facilitators and barriers to good pain management. Finally, focus groups will be undertaken with adult patients and staff at each site to identify whether and how interventions identified within the literature search can be implemented.
The third phase involves a postal survey of emergency departments in England and Wales to identify the prevalence of factors affecting pain management, identify pain management strategies in use and the perception of facilitators and barriers to good practice.