Aim To assess the prescribing of analgesia to manage pain crises in children with SCD. This was to establish whether the Trust was meeting national and local standards. Prompt pain control is essential to reduce length of stay and further complications.1
100% of admissions will be prescribed regular paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) at the recommended frequency unless contraindicated in accordance with national guidance.2 3
100% of admissions will be prescribed appropriate doses of analgesia with consideration to weight and age in accordance with local policy.4
Method The audit was registered with the Trust’s audit committee. A list of paediatric patients with the diagnosis of SCD was sought from paediatricians with an interest in haematology. A data collection form was created. Data was collected retrospectively over a one-year period. A total of 60 admissions were reviewed to check whether analgesia was prescribed regularly at the recommended frequency, and at the correct dose. Results were analysed using descriptive statistical analysis. Exclusion criteria included patients with hospital admissions under 24 hours.
Results A total of 55 admissions were included in the final sample. The audit showed the Trust was non-adherent to both standards assessed. A total of 45% (95% CI [31.9%, 58.1%]) of admissions were prescribed regular analgesia. A total of 78% (95% CI [67.9%, 88.9%] of admissions were prescribed appropriate doses of analgesia. Two main reasons were found as to why analgesia was prescribed at the incorrect dose. This was due to incorrect weights recorded on the electronic system (n=4) and doses based on age only (n=8).
Conclusion The results show prescribers are familiar with the correct doses of analgesia but fail to prescribe analgesia regularly. This highlights an opportunity for education and training in the management of pain crisis in SCD. One recommendation includes development of an integrated care pathway booklet for paediatric patients presenting with pain crisis due to SCD. Integrated care pathway booklets have been implemented for other conditions such as cystic fibrosis yielding positive outcomes. The results have highlighted key issues surrounding the electronic prescribing system such as out-of-date weights remaining on the system unless updated, and default treatment protocols. The electronic prescribing system requires refinement for use within paediatrics. One suggestion includes compulsory weight field on admission. Limitations of this audit included small sample size. There was a lack of data to make suggestions based on different ages.
Rees D, Olujohungbe A, Parker N, et al. Guidelines for the management of the acute painful crises in sickle cell disease. Br J Haemato 2003;120:744–752.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2012) Sickle cell disease: managing acute painful episodes in hospital. NICE Guideline (CG143).
Paediatric Formulary Committee. BNF for Children (2018–2019). London: BMJ Group, Pharmaceutical Press, and RCPCH Publications; (2018).
General Hospital (2015) Management of sickle cell disease in paediatric patients (CG377).
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