There are several options regarding how to achieve effective teamwork and communication in the post-operative setting. The following section suggests some leverages for improvement based on outcomes of different publications.

  1. Clarity in responsibilities and roles1
    • Evidence from published literature indicates that there are divergent views among HCPs about who is responsible for pain management, which may lead to uncertainty and confusion.1
    • Clarifying roles through communication and protocols may reduce this uncertainty and help to ensure that all tasks and decisions involved in post-operative pain management are undertaken efficiently.
  2. Involvement of all stakeholders2
    • Post-operative pain management should be considered by all involved healthcare professionals, in order to ensure optimal therapeutic and patient outcomes.
    • Though specific responsibilities should be clear, it is important that all involved staff appreciate the importance of post-operative pain management and understand the treatment plan for their patients.
  3. Staff training to enhance knowledge
    • A study has shown that staff training on post-operative pain can lead to improved patient outcomes.**3
    • Regular training on post-operative pain should be offered to all involved staff.3
Influence of staff training on POPM


  1. Cooperation with acute pain service (APS)
    • A study has shown that an acute pain service can reduce mean and maximum pain scores.4
    • If not already available, an acute pain service should be established to improve post-operative pain management.4
POPM in patients before and after the implementation of APS


  1. Omission of information during patient handover
    • An omission of information and a breakdown of communication can occur during handovers.5
    • Handover protocols and a checklist of topics to be raised have been shown to reduce the number of information omissions.5
Topics discussed during patient handover



1Powell AE et al. Understanding the challenges of service change – learning from acute pain services in the UK. J R Soc Med. 2009; 102: 62-8.
2 Benhamou D et al. Postoperative analgesic therapy observational survey (PATHOS): A practice pattern study in 7 central/southern European countries. Pain. 2008; 136: 134-41.
3 Harmer M and Davies KA. The effect of education, assessment and a standardised prescription on postoperative pain management. Anesthesia. 1998; 53: 424-30.
4 Bardiau FM et al. An intervention study to enhance postoperative pain management. Anesth Analg. 2003; 96: 179-85.
5 Randmaa M et al. An observational study of postoperative handover in anesthetic clinics; the content of verbal information and factors influencing receiver memory. J Perianesth Nurs. 2015; 30: 105-15.


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