Together for Short Lives
Call the Helpline 0808 8088 100

Successful implementation of a neonatal pain and sedation protocol at 2 NICUs

Journal title
Publication year
Deindl, P.; Unterasinger, L.; Kappler, G.; Werther, T.; Czaba, C.; Giordano, V.; Frantal, S.; Berger, A.; Pollak, A.; Olischar, M.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the implementation of a neonatal pain and sedation protocol at 2 ICUs. METHODS: The intervention started with the evaluation of local practice, problems, and staff satisfaction. We then developed and implemented the Vienna Protocol for Neonatal Pain and Sedation. The protocol included well-defined strategies for both nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic interventions based on regular assessment of a translated version of the Neonatal Pain Agitation and Sedation Scale and titration of analgesic and sedative therapy according to aim scores. Health care staff was trained in the assessment by using a video-based tutorial and bedside teaching. In addition, we performed reevaluation, retraining, and random quality checks. Frequency and quality of assessments, pharmacologic therapy, duration of mechanical ventilation, and outcome were compared between baseline (12 months before implementation) and 12 months after implementation. RESULTS: Cumulative median (interquartile range) opiate dose (baseline dose of 1.4 [0.5-5.9] mg/kg versus intervention group dose of 2.7 [0.4-57] mg/kg morphine equivalents; P = .002), pharmacologic interventions per episode of continuous sedation/analgesia (4 [2-10] vs 6 [2-13]; P = .005), and overall staff satisfaction (physicians: 31% vs 89%; P < .001; nurses: 17% vs 55%; P < .001) increased after implementation. Time on mechanical ventilation, length of stay at the ICU, and adverse outcomes were similar before and after implementation. CONCLUSIONS: Implementation of a neonatal pain and sedation protocol at 2 ICUs resulted in an increase in opiate prescription, pharmacologic interventions, and staff satisfaction without affecting time on mechanical ventilation, length of intensive care stay, and adverse outcomes.

Research abstracts