A Multimodal Pain Management Strategy for Burn Patients

Published:October 29, 2022DOI:


      • Nonpharmacologic adjuncts should be included in the management of burn pain
      • Self-management behaviors have been shown to impact pain outcomes
      • Self-efficacy may be able to be enhanced in the acute care setting
      • Burn nurses report greater use of nonpharmacologic adjuncts with a protocol
      • Self-efficacy may increase during prolonged hospitalization



      Acute burn pain is difficult to manage, and poorly managed pain can lead to deleterious consequences such as post-traumatic stress disorder, prolonged recovery, chronic pain and long-term dependence on opioids. Understanding the role of nursing in promoting self-efficacy and minimizing opioid use is valuable. It is unknown whether strategic efforts aimed at enhancing patient self-efficacy will improve pain managment and lessen opioid requirements in the adult burn population.


      The aim of this study was to examine the effect of a multi-modal, interdisciplinary pain management strategy on coping self-efficacy, pain scores, and opioid use in adult burn patients in the acute care setting.


      A quasi-experimental pre-test/post-test design was employed in an American Burn Association (ABA) verified burn center in the Pacific Northwestern United States. Data were collected prospectively for a 6-month period on 44 burn patients. The comparison group received usual care (n = 28), and the intervention received a pain management protocol (n = 16). Coping self-efficacy was measured on admission and at discharge in both groups using the Coping Self-Efficacy Scale. Numeric pain scores and opioid use in morphine milligram equivalents were averaged for each participant. Burn nurse perceptions were gathered via an anonymous electronic survey post data collection in February 2021.


      There were no significant differences in measured coping self-efficacy, pain scores, or opioid use between the intervention and comparison groups. A significant positive correlation was found between length of stay, size of burn, and coping self-efficacy and problem focused self-efficacy. Burn nurses reported increased use of nonpharmacologic adjuncts since protocol implementation.


      Nonpharmacologic adjuncts are more likely to be used consistently when protocolized. There is also evidence to support that certain aspects of self-efficacy may be enhanced during acute phase of burn care.


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