PCA stands for "patient-controlled analgesia," which means that the patient is in control of his / her pain medicine. It is very easy to work and understand. A push button will be available at all times for the patient to use.
When the patient begins to have pain, he / she pushes the button and a certain amount of pain medicine goes into the vein through the IV (intravenous) tubing. Since the patient is the one with the pain, only he / she is allowed to push the button.
If the patient is very young, developmentally delayed or unable to push the button, the Pain Service physician may permit the child's nurse or parents to push the button.