Sickle cell disease patients' perceptions of emergency department pain management

Jerlym Porter*, Joe Feinglass, Nicole Artz, John Hafner, Paula Tanabe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) experience painful crises that often require admission to the emergency department (ED) for pain management. Factors such as ED overcrowding and negative perception and stigmatization of SCD may impact patients' perceptions of the quality of pain management in the ED. Data from a multisite prospective cohort study was assessed to determine whether demographic (age and sex), clinical (time to administration of initial analgesia, number of analgesic doses, discharge disposition, and clinical site), or interpersonal factors (separately measured perceptions of being treated with trust and respect by ED triage nurses, nurses, and physicians) were associated with patient ratings of their pain management in the ED. Patients were adults with SCD seen at 3 EDs (2 urban and 1 rural). Demographic and clinical information was derived from medical record review; interpersonal and ED pain management ratings were derived from interviews conducted 1 week post ED visit. A total of 209 interviews by 98 patients were analyzed. Results indicated significant differences among the ED sites on the demographic, clinical, and interpersonal factors. Overall, patients reported being treated with trust and respect by ED clinicians. Adjusted logistic regression analyses indicated that ED clinical site 1 (odds ratio [OR], 10.42; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.44-7.36) and being treated with trust and respect by the ED physician (OR, 25.53; 95% CI, 2.07-314.96) predicted good ED pain management ratings. Interpersonal health care experiences may be an important indicator of patient satisfaction and quality of care received by patients with SCD in the ED.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-454
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the National Medical Association
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - 2012


  • Emergency department
  • Pain management
  • Sickle cell disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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