Continuing Professional Development: Managing abdominal pain: a guide for paramedics

June 2011

OverviewAmbulance personnel encounter patients with abdominal pain on a weekly, if not daily basis. Despite this exposure, many of these patients continue to be managed without appropriate analgesia. Ambulance services remain focussed on trying to promote effective pain management, however this message still does not reach many clinicians. An understanding of pain mechanisms, assessment tools and subjectivity will aid the clinician in evaluating these patients, whilst a knowledge of current and possible future pain management strategies will assist when happening upon these service users.Learning OutcomesAfter completing this module you:• Will have been given a refresher in abdominal pain emergency management, enabling you to improve your current practice• Will be able to better understand the mechanisms involved in pain perception, which in turn will give your treatment a sound underpinning knowledge base.• Will be aware of the current pharmacological agents available to ambulance staff in the management of abdominal pain and that further advancements in this area are on the horizon.• Will understand that what you perceive to be pain, is not necessarily the same as your co-worker or the patient you are attending, giving you a blank, non judgemental canvas to start your assessment.• Will be able to cascade the learning you have undertaken to your fellow colleagues in an attempt to eradicate poor pain management from the ambulance service once and for all.

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