Patient controlled analgesia (PCA) and Patient-controlled epidural analgesia (PCEA) pumps are methods of pain control with complex smart infusion devices and are widely used in hospitals. Smart PCA/PCEA pumps can be programmed with the dose and rate of medications within pre-set ranges. However, adverse effects have been reported associated with these pumps' use. In this paper, we describe a prevalence observational study where observers used an electronic data collection tool to record pump settings and medications with PCA pumps, corresponding medication orders to identify errors. The results showed that there were many labeling and tubing change tag errors, which were a violation of hospital policy. A few potential harmful medication errors were identified but no critical errors. Study results suggest the importance of a standard process of PCA pump use. Next steps include implementing a safety bundle for improving PCA practice to support safe and effective pain management.
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