Hospitalized children receive inadequate pain management

A recent study showed that pain remains common in hospitalized children, despite a concentrated focus on improving pain management over the past decade.

Two hundred medical and surgical patients ranging in age from 7 days to 21 years admitted to the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center from October 2007 to November 2008 were enrolled. Using a prospective chart review data collection tool, researchers collected data daily for a maximum of 5 days, including patient demographics, presence/absence and location of pain, pain intensity, pain assessment documentation, analgesic use, side effects of analgesic therapy and patient/family satisfaction.

Results from the survey showed that 86% of patients experienced pain, of which 40% was often moderate to severe. Compared with medical patients, surgical patients reported pain more frequently (99% vs. 65%). Higher pain scores were also associated with whites, female gender, and age 5 years or older.

For the study period, 75% of all study patients and more than 97% of postoperative patients ordered pain medication. Females and white patients used more opioids compared with males and non-whites. Lack of documented physician pain assessment, a high prevalence of “as needed” analgesic dosing, frequent opioid induced side effects and patient/family dissatisfaction with pain management were included as obstacles to optimal analgesic management.

“This study was designed as a pulse check to gauge our own progress,” Lori Kozlowski, RN, MS, CPNP, pediatric pain specialist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a press release. “Our verdict is that while we’ve made tremendous strides, there’s still work to be done.”

ecent study results showed that pain remains common in hospitalized children.,

For more information:

Kozlowski LJ. Pain Manag Nurs. 2012;doi:10.1016/j.pmn.2012.04.003.

Disclosure: Ms. Kozlowski reported no relevant financial disclosures.

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