About Your Care
Controlling Your Pain
Your comfort is very important to us. You have the right to the appropriate assessment and management of your pain. Pain management is a necessary part of your treatment plan. We ask that you discuss pain relief options with your physician, ask for pain relief options when pain first begins, tell us when pain is not relieved, tell us about any concerns you have to help your doctor and nurse assess your pain.
Cooper offers a presentation on pain management. To view this presentation on your television, dial extension 4999, code #630.
Types of Pain Medicine
Intravenous pain medicine comes into your body through a tube, often in your arm. This provides fast relief, often within 15 minutes.
Epidural pain medicine is given through a small tube (catheter) which is inserted in your back. It is typically used when you have surgery on the lower part of your body. Usually relief is constant.
Oral pain medicine is given by the mouth in tablet or liquid form. Oral medicines are used when other medicine is no longer needed (24 to 48 hours after surgery). It can also be used before physical therapy or a medical procedure that might cause discomfort. You usually feel better within 30 to 45 minutes.
Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) uses a computerized pump to send pain medicine directly into your blood stream. When you need pain relief, you can give yourself pain medicine by pressing a button or switch. The pump does not allow you to get too much and relief is usually steady. Your doctor or nurse can change the allowed dose if you are not finding relief.
The best way we will know when you have pain is for you to tell your doctors, nurses and therapists:
- Where you are hurting – point to or describe the place(s) where it hurts.
- What the hurt feels like -- use words like aching, burning, cramping, deep, dull, gnawing, pinching, pounding, pressing, prickling, pulsing, sharp, shooting, stabbing, tight, tender, throbbing to describe your pain. This will help us decide which medications or treatments are best for you.
- How much you are hurting – rate your pain on a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 meaning no pain, and 10 meaning the worst pain you can imagine. Reporting your pain as a number lets us know how well your treatment is working. You can also rate your pain with the faces or by using words such as mild, moderate or severe.
Keeping Pain in Control
Do not wait for the pain to get bad. Ask for pain medicine before pain starts or when it first begins. It is easier to control pain when it is mild, before it gets severe. If you know your pain will get worse when you do certain physical activity, ask for your pain medicine first.
Possible Side Effects of Pain Medication
Side effects of pain medication that sometimes occur include nausea, constipation, sleepiness, itchiness and difficult urination. If you are bothered by any of these side effects, or if your IV is painful, tell your nurse and doctor.
Other Ways to Relieve Pain
- Hot/Cold packs
- Changing positions
- Watching TV
Information about Surgical Site Infections
A surgical site infection (SSI) is an infection that occurs after surgery in the part of the body where the surgery took place. Most patients who have surgery do not develop an infection. However, infections develop in about 1 to 3 out of every 100 patients who have surgery.
Some of the common symptoms of a surgical site infection are:
- Redness and pain around the area where you had surgery
- Drainage of cloudy fluid from your surgical wound
Treatment for an SSI
Most surgical site infections can be treated with antibiotics. The antibiotic given to you depends on the bacteria (germs) causing the infection. Sometimes patients with an SSI also need another surgery to treat the infection.
How Cooper staff work to prevent infections
Doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers do the following:
- Clean their hands and arms up to their elbows with an antiseptic agent just before surgery.
- Clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol based hand rub before and after caring for each patient.
- May remove patient’s body hair immediately before surgery using electric clippers if the hair is in the same area where the procedure will occur. Use of a razor can promote infection.
- Wear special hair covers, mask, gowns, and gloves during surgery to keep the surgery area clean.
- Give you antibiotics before your surgery starts. In most cases, you should get antibiotics within 60 minutes before surgery starts and the antibiotics should be stopped within 24 hours after surgery.
- Clean the skin at the site for your surgery with a special soap that kills germs.
How patients can prevent SSIs
- Tell your doctor about other medical problems you may have. Health problems such as allergies, diabetes, and obesity could affect your surgery and your treatment.
- Quit smoking. Patients who smoke get more infections. Talk to your doctor about how you can quit before your surgery.
- Do not shave near where you will have surgery. Shaving with a razor can irritate your skin and make it easier to develop an infection.
At the time of your surgery:
- Speak up if someone tries to shave you with a razor before surgery. Ask why you need to be shaved and talk with your surgeon if you have any concerns.
- Ask if you will get antibiotics before surgery.
After your surgery:
- Make sure that your healthcare providers clean their hands before examining you, either with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
- If you do not see your provider clean their hands, please ask them to do so.
- Family and friends who visit should not touch the surgical wound or dressings.
- Family and friends should clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub before and after visiting you. If you do not see them clean their hands, ask them to do so.
- Before you go home, your doctor or nurse should explain everything you need to know about taking care of your wound. Make sure you understand how to care for your wound before you leave the hospital.
- Always clean your hands before and after caring for your wound.
- Before you go home, make sure you know who to contact if you have questions or problems after returning home.
- If you have any symptoms of an infection, such as redness and pain at the surgical site, drainage or fever, call your doctor immediately.
- If you have additional questions, please ask your doctor or nurse.
Participate in Your Own Care
Cooper University Hospital will take every precaution to prevent medical errors. As part of our prevention efforts, we will continually check your identity and ask you about your care. We also encourage you to be a participant in your care.
Research shows that patients who are more involved in their care tend to get better results. Some ideas include:
- Speak up if you have questions or concerns or don’t understand what you are being told.
- Pay attention to the care you are receiving to make sure you are getting the right treatments and medications by the right health care professionals.
- Educate yourself about your diagnosis, the medical tests you are having and your treatment plan.
- Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate by assisting you in filling out forms and communicating your health care wishes.
- Know what medications you take and why you take them.
- Participate in all your decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the health care team.
You are encouraged to contact Cooper University Hospital management regarding any concerns about patient care and safety that the hospital has not addressed. If the concern continues, you may contact: The Joint Commission Office of Quality Monitoring, One Renaissance Boulevard, Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, 60181, 1-800-994-6610 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Calling Your Nurse
Near your pillow, you will find a call button that signals the nursing station for assistance. A nurse will either come to your room or respond to your call through the intercom system above your bed. If you feel weak, please call your nurse before attempting to get out of bed. When the side rails on your bed are raised for your protection, do not attempt to get out of bed without the assistance of a nurse. If you feel weak while in the bathroom, push the emergency signal button to call for assistance.