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Diego Manzoni, Maria Luigia Pizzaballa, Veronica Beltramelli, Clara Severgnini and Bruno Balicco
Context: Acute Pain Services (APS) are becoming available in many hospitals worldwide because of the numerous advantages for patients and healthcare systems. Whereas data show that patients benefit from APS in terms of pain relief and satisfaction, little is still known about the attitudes of healthcare professionals and how they may change when APS are introduced in their clinical work. Objective: This survey evaluates attitudes on pain and highlights the main differences amongst staff working in wards with and without a pain service within the same hospital. Design: Questionnaire survey. Setting: A provincial Italian hospital. Results: Of the 122 questionnaires sent, 95 (78%) were returned. The majority of respondents (81%) agreed that effective pain control improves patient outcome and 78% believed anaesthetists should decide over postoperative pain management and be involved in pain issues even when patients are discharged to the surgical wards (88%). A large number of respondents (68%) thought patients should expect some pain after surgery. A good knowledge of the APS was reported and personnel working with the APS showed to know more about it. Pain measurement and recording is still not well addressed in the clinical practice (only 42% record pain scores) especially in the group of those not working with the APS. Conclusion: Small hospitals still need to implement APS in their clinical settings, and develop more concern on pain issues for healthcare professionals who may change their attitudes, increase their knowledge and improve their practice when APS are introduced.