(HealthDay News) — Postsurgical pain scores are strongly linked to patient satisfaction during hospitalization, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, held from March 6–9 in Phoenix.

Dermot Maher, MD, from the Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined the correlation between pain control after surgery and patient perspectives on care they receive in hospital. Responses to the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey were reviewed for 2,933 surgical patients hospitalized at a single trauma center from March 2012–February 2013.

The researchers found that, compared with pain scores as assessed with the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) visual analog scale, there was a statistically robust relationship for four HCAHPS responses (two assessing in-hospital pain management and two addressing general satisfaction). Correlations of PACU pain scores with HCAHPS responses were significantly larger for patients who had surgery related to spine, non-spine orthopedics, and obstetrics and gynecology, than other types of surgery.

“Patients consider a number of factors when evaluating physicians and hospitals. One of the most influential factors is a patient’s perception of pain,” Maher said in a statement. “The universal unpleasantness and complicated nature of pain, especially in the postoperative setting, has the potential to negatively impact overall satisfaction if not optimally managed.”

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