Background: Postoperative pain assessment remains a significant problem in clinical care despite patients wanting to describe their pain and be treated as unique individuals. Deeper knowledge about variations in patients experiences and actions could help healthcare professionals to improve pain management and could increase patients participation in pain assessments. Objective: The aim of this study was, through an examination of critical incidents, to describe patients experiences and actions when needing to describe pain after surgery. Methods: An explorative design involving the critical incident technique was used. Patients from one university and three county hospitals in both urban and rural areas were included. To ensure variation of patients a strategic sampling was made according to age, gender, education and surgery. A total of 25 patients who had undergone orthopaedic or general surgery was asked to participate in an interview, of whom three declined. Findings: Pain experiences were described according to two main areas: "Patients resources when in need of pain assessment" and "Ward resources for performing pain assessments". Patients were affected by their expectations and tolerance for pain. Ability to describe pain could be limited by a fear of coming into conflict with healthcare professionals or being perceived as whining. Furthermore, attitudes from healthcare professionals and their lack of adherence to procedures affected patients ability to describe pain. Two main areas regarding actions emerged: "Patients used active strategies when needing to describe pain" and "Patients used passive strategies when needing to describe pain". Patients informed healthcare professionals about their pain and asked questions in order to make decisions about their pain situation. Selfcare was performed by distraction and avoiding pain or treating pain by themselves, while others were passive and endured pain or refrained from contact with healthcare professionals due to healthcare professionals large work load. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
MEDICIN OCH HÄLSOVETENSKAP -- Hälsovetenskaper -- Omvårdnad (hsv//swe)
MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES -- Health Sciences -- Nursing (hsv//eng)
MEDICIN OCH HÄLSOVETENSKAP -- Klinisk medicin (hsv//swe)
MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES -- Clinical Medicine (hsv//eng)