PCA is an excellent therapy for the maintenance of already established analgesia (Grass 2005). If a patient is in moderate-to-severe pain, health-care provider delivered boluses of an opioid must be used to reach an acceptable level of analgesia first because the incremental dosing of a PCA will not allow patients to achieve comfort in a reasonable period of time (Hudcova 2007). PCA may be used in any patient requiring intravenous opioids provided they are alert, oriented, and able to understand how to use the equipment appropriately.
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