What is PCA? It is the abbreviation for
"patient controlled analgesia".
does a PCA pump do?
A PCA pump allows you to give yourself pain
killing drugs whenever you need them and without having to wait for the
nurse to bring an injection.
When do I get the PCA pump? When you awake after your operation you
will be connected up to the PCA pump.
How does it work? When you feel pain you press the white button
on the handset, which will be in your hand (this is connected to the PCA
pump). You will hear a beep to confirm that the pump has acknowledged this
request. The pump delivers the drug down a fine length of tubing to the drip
Does a PCA pump always administer the drug when I press the button?
No! The pump is programmed to allow the drug to exert its effect (it takes a
few minutes). After this period, if you are in pain the pump will allow you
to have another dose of pain killers.
much pain control should I try to get?
Most patients aim to get as comfortable as
possible, without getting too drowsy.
PCA better than conventional treatment methods?
You get your pain killer
immediately when you need it , as often as you need it and it acts rapidly.
If you dislike injections PCA is an extra bonus. Furthermore, patients with
good pain control tend to make faster progress and, on average, leave
long will I be on the PCA pump?
You can have the pump for as long as you
need it. Most patients progress to oral medication after a couple of days.
PCA help me to cope with physiotherapy and other nursing procedures?
Yes! You can get
pain relief before, during and after many procedures using PCA.
pumps have been in use for many years now and they incorporate a number of
safety features. If used sensibly, they are very safe.
Provided you only press the button when you
feel pain it is virtually impossible to overdose yourself.
You will only be on PCA for a relatively
short period of time. Addiction is therefore highly unlikely.
are the side effects?
The main side effect is the same one you
might experience after repeated injections of pain killers from the nurse.
This is drowsiness, but it is usually much less intense.
using the PCA pump mean that the nurses will pay less attention to me?
contrary. The nurses will have more time to monitor your condition while you
are on the pump, and attend to your other needs.