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Medical Procedure Sedation
By Sarah Todd
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Additional Pain Management Options

Besides the sedation team, Mercy Medical Center offers many other pain services for patients. For more information about any of the services listed below, please contact Joan Beard at (515) 247.3172 or

Mercy Center for Pain Medicine
Anesthesiologists provide outpatient pain management and treatments. Possible procedures include epidural or trigger point injections, medication injections for spasticity, spinal cord stimulators, and many other pain management options.

Nurse Pain Clinicians
Two nurses provide pain management care for patients in the hospital, at clinics, receiving home care, in long-term care facilities, and in hospice care. They provide consultation for medicated and nonmedicated pain management. Education is also available for patients’ families.

Palliative Care Services
Palliative care is specialized care that focuses on pain management. Dedicated palliative care nurses and a physician work with patients and families on palliative care and quality-of-life issues on an inpatient and outpatient basis.


learn more. For more information about the sedation team at Mercy, please call (515) 643.4082.




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Have you ever felt anxious or nervous before having a medical test? If so, help is available in the form of sedation experts.

Patients undergo procedures that require sedation every day in hospitals across the nation. The purpose of these procedures and tests is to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of disease processes; without sedation, many of these procedures would be
difficult to accomplish and, in some cases, may not be possible.

That’s where a sedation team—like the one at Mercy Medical Center—helps patients become more comfortable as they go through tests and procedures. This unique team at Mercy is central Iowa’s only dedicated sedation service. It is
comprised of nurses who specialize in sedation and is led by anesthesiologists. Working together, they provide sedation to patients of all ages—from newborns to the elderly—who are undergoing various procedures. The team’s goal is to relieve pain and anxiety for the patient and to complete a safe and successful procedure. 

“By having a dedicated sedation team, other care providers can concentrate on their role in patient care while the patient receives the safety and comfort he or she needs,” says Joan Beard, director of Mercy Pain, Palliative Care and Sedation Team Services.

Sedation is the reduction of irritability or agitation by the administration of sedative medication to facilitate a medical procedure. “Clinicians use sedation scales in conjunction with medical history to assess the level of sedation in patients,” says Dr. John Sweetman, M.D., anesthesiologist with Medical Center Anesthesiologists, P.C., a group that partners with Mercy. “The anesthesiologist monitors the level of sedation by observing the patient’s vital signs, assessing the level of agitation, and examining the level of responsiveness of the patient to physical stimulation.”

The American Society of Anesthesiologists defines the range of sedation as follows:
Minimal sedation: normal response to verbal stimuli
Moderate sedation: purposeful response to verbal/physical stimulation, usually referred to as conscious sedation
Deep sedation: response to painful stimuli only
General anesthesia: unarousable, even with painful stimuli

For several reasons, sedation is necessary to complete
certain medical procedures in some patients. Some procedures are too painful or cause too much anxiety to be performed
on the conscious patient. Other times, due to age and/or
cognitive ability, the patient is unable to cooperate and therefore requires sedation.

At Mercy, the sedation team provides the full range of sedation from minimal sedation to general anesthesia. The sedation team can be utilized throughout the hospital and in various departments or settings, including the patient’s room. The team of anesthesiologists and nurses provides sedation for imaging procedures such as CT scans and MRIs, peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) line placements, lumbar punctures, nuclear medicine studies, bone marrow aspirations, wound care and dressing changes, colonoscopies, and upper endoscopies. When a child requires sedation to help relax during a procedure, child life specialists assist the sedation team by using distraction methods—books, toys, and more—so the child is oblivious to the sedation team preparing him or her for a procedure.

“We want people to know they can ask their physician to request the sedation team for invasive, painful, or anxiety-
producing procedures,” says Dr. Sweetman. “The use of
sedation can often minimize patient discomfort and stress, and provide patients at Mercy with the best care possible.”




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