Patient-controlled and nurse-controlled analgesia

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Find out how PCA and NCA help your child get relief from severe, short-term pain in the hospital.

Key points

  • Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) and nurse-controlled analgesia (NCA) allow a child to receive opioid medication to relieve severe pain in hospital.
  • PCA allows the patient to decide when and how much medication they receive. NCA is used if a patient cannot deliver their own medication.
  • For safety reasons, only the patient should press the PCA button and only a nurse should press the NCA button.
  • Sometimes, medications in PCA and NCA pumps can cause nausea, vomiting, constipation and drowsiness. Your child’s nurse will monitor your child closely to check for any side effects and make sure the medication is working properly.
Last updated: March 17th 2017