Info on PCA

What is PCA?

- PCA stands for Patient Controlled Analgesia.  You can administer pain medication to yourself by pressing a button attached to an intravenous pump.  The PCA pump is only to be pressed by you (not family or visitors).

Why do I need a PCA pump?

- The PCA pump lets you give yourself pain medication when you need it.  This allows you to give yourself as much pain medication as you need without getting too much.

When will I get the PCA pump?

- You are connected to the PCA pump in the recovery room after surgery.  The recovery room staff will go over how it works in detail and ensure you know how to use it before sending you to the ward.

How does the PCA pump work?

- When you feel you need some more pain relief, press the button on the hand set.  You will hear a "beep"; the medicine is immediately delivered into your IV.

- Each dose is very small and therefore you are able to press the button fairly frequently so that you can get just as much pain medicine as you need without getting too much.

Can I overdose or give myself too much?

- No.  The amount of medication that you can get is programmed into the pump for your safety.

- Each dose is very small and that is why we let you press the button frequently should you need it.

Can I get addicted to the pain medication?

- No.  The PCA pump is only used for up to a few days after the surgery.  Over the few days, you will be transitioned to pain medication by mouth in preparation for discharge.

Can I use other pain medication or sleeping pills while using the PCA?

- For your safety, sleeping pills are not ordered with the PCA.  The pain medication can be sedating by itself.

- You will have other non-narcotic pain medications such as Acetaminophen ordered and also other slow release narcotic medications as you are transitioned off of the PCA.

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