BACKGROUND: Children being cared for in hospital often undergo multiple diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Procedure-related pain, anxiety, and distress may consequently place a significant burden on the children. Although standards for pain management exist, procedure-related pain remains inadequately treated.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the frequency and pain intensity of procedures in children, as well as the associated pharmacologic interventions to manage the pain in a Danish University Hospital.
METHODS: During a 3-month period in 2013, a structured questionnaire was used to prospectively record all procedures performed on children from 1 month to 18 years of age. Directly after the procedure, the pharmacologic pain management interventions and the pain intensity were recorded. Pain intensity was measured by using age-appropriate pain scales. Positioning and prior experience with the procedure were recorded.
RESULTS: Of the 316 children included in the study, 72% experienced none to mild pain, 8.5% experienced moderate to severe pain during the procedures, and 65% had a pharmacologic pain management intervention. Significant higher median VAS score was found during venipuncture in the children sitting on the lap of their parents compared with other positions (P < 0.05), and significant lower median VAS score was found in children who had experienced the procedure before (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: Most children experienced mild pain during procedures. The children’s positioning during the procedure and prior experience with the procedure seem to influence their experience of procedural pain and it is therefore essential that therapy is tailored for each child and includes a multimodal approach.
Rømsing, J., Dremstrup Skovgaard, C., Friis, S.M. and Henneberg, S.W. (2014) Procedure-related pain in children in a Danish University Hospital. A qualitative study. Paediatric Anaesthesia. April 8th. (epub ahead of print).