Background Paramedics play an important role in reducing pain in patients calling an ambulance. We aimed to identify how patient factors (age, sex), clinical condition and paramedic factors (sex, role seniority) affected pain treatment and outcomes.
Methods We used a cross sectional design using routine retrospective data a one-week sample of all 999 ambulance attendances in two large regional UK ambulance services for all patients aged 18 years or over where pain was identified in people requiring primary transport to hospital. Exclusion criteria patients with a Glasgow Coma Scale score below 13, or patients not attended by a paramedic.
We used a multilevel design, using a regression model to investigate which factors were independently associated with administration of analgesia and reduction in pain, taking into account confounders including patient demographics and other variables. Analysis was performed with Stata.
Results We collected data on 9574 patients (service 1, 2; n=3344, 6230 respectively) including 4911 (51.3%) male and 4524 (47.3%) females (1.5% missing). Initial pain score was not recorded in 42.4% (4063/9574). The multilevel model suggested that the factors associated with use of strong opiates (morphine intravenously or orally) was a pain score of 7 or above, patient age 50–64 years and suspected fractured neck of femur. Reduction in pain score of 2 or more points was significant whatever the initial pain score and associated with age 50–84 years. There was no association between use of strong opiate analgesic or reduction in pain score and sex of patient and/or sex of paramedic or crew member.
Conclusion Our initial analysis showed a high level of non-recording of pain scores. There was no association between use of strong opiate analgesics or reduction in pain score of 2 points or more with patient sex or crew sex or paramedic skill level.
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