Managing Pain in Children: Helping to Improve the Use of Evidence in Practice

Twycross, A. BMJ Evidence-based Nursing Blog. Published online: 18 April 2016

By Alison Twycross (@alitwy), Head of Department for Children’s Nursing and Professor of Children’s Nursing, London South Bank University.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Children%27s_pain_scale.JPG

Image source: Robert Weis // CC BY-SA 4.0

I have been editor of Evidence Based Nursing since August 2010 and during that time I have worked with a team of associate editors to make the evidence to guide practice more accessible to nurses working in clinical practice. Alongside this I have also carried out research relating to managing pain in children. My current research focuses on the management of acute, post-operative and cancer-related pain in children and in particular on supporting parents to manage their child’s pain at home. I have also edited three books pulling together the evidence for managing pain in children. Details of the 2014 book can be found at: http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470670541.html

The observational studies demonstrate that current practices confirm to clinical guidelines in some but not all areas and we still have:

  • Inconsistent pain assessment practices – for example, not all children have pain scores recorded
  • Pain management is seen by many nurses as synonymous with administering analgesic drugs
  • Decision-making about which pain relieving interventions to use is not guided by pain scores
  • Non-drug methods are not seen as a nursing role – instead they are seen as a parents’ role or something for the play specialist
  • Limited communication with child and parents about pain management
  • Limited documentation about pain management
  • Children experiencing moderate to severe pain unrelieved pain during a hospital stay

Read the full post here

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