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The Ottawa Hospital Acute Pain Service (APS) is one of four specialty services that provide consultative support for hospital patients with pain (other three are Palliative Care, Pain Clinic and the Rehab Centre Pain Clinic).  It may come as a surprise that Anesthesiology directed Acute Pain Services have only been in existence in North America since the late 1980’s.  In 1990 TOH APS was one of the very first to become established in Canada.  The Ottawa Hospital Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine provides APS consultative coverage to the Civic and General campuses. Consults from the Heart Institute via the Heart Institute’s Department of Anesthesiology are also welcomed.

Our Services

The Acute Pain Service (APS) as the name suggests helps provide pain control in cases of acute pain after major surgery and trauma for hospital in-patients.  The APS is able to provide advanced pain management modalities such as intravenous patient controlled analgesia with opioids (IV PCA), continuous epidural infusions, neuraxial opioids, intravenous lidocaine infusions and continuous plexus anesthesia infusions.  Also we offer expertise with advanced oral multi-modal analgesia.

Our Team

  • Dr. Sarah Tierney – Corporate Medical Director of The Ottawa Hospital Acute Pain Service
  • Jennifer Taylor – BScN, MEd. Advanced Practice Nurse TOH APS
  • Dr. Sarah Tierney – Civic Campus Medical Lead for Acute Pain Service
  • Dr. Catherine Smyth – General Campus Medical Lead for Acute Pain Service

The Department of Anesthesiology and Medicine’s Civic and General Campuses each have a sub-group of physicians with sub-specialty interest in acute pain that rotate through the APS on a weekly basis.

Currently we also have 1.8 FTE positions for Acute Pain Service Nurses, who work solely on the APS for periods of up to one year at a time.

How to refer a patient to the Acute Pain Service

Patients are seen by the APS on a referral basis only.  Patient’s with a chronic pain history, scheduled for major surgery, ideally should be referred to Anesthesiology via the pre-assessment unit so a patient specific peri-operative pain management plan can be formulated and any special needs planned for.

The Acute Pain Service may also be consulted to assist with pain management in trauma patients, procedural analgesia, persistent post surgical pain, medical patients, etc. when the attending service has not been successful with pain management despite the implementation of standard multi-modal analgesia therapy. Consultations must be made directly from referring physician to the APS.  Direct telephone communication is strongly encouraged.

The Acute Pain Service does not provide addiction medicine services.

Contact Us

Via TOH locating 613-788-5555 – please specify which campus APS is requested.

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Last updated on: January 23rd, 2023