Anja Hetland Smeland1, Tone Rusten1, Alison Twycross1, Stefan Lundeberg1, Torgun Nوss1, Lill Nybro1
Pain in children and adolescents is underestimated and undertreated despite a significant amount of research in the area. Little research has been done to explore children’s experiences of pain and pain management after surgery. The aim of this study was to increase our understanding of children’s experiences of pain and postoperative pain management.
A qualitative exploratory study design with semi-structured in depth interviews of children undergoing surgery was performed. Children (n = 20), aged 6-18 years, were interviewed about their experience of pain and postoperative pain management at recovery units in two different university hospitals in Norway.
More than half of the children reported moderate to severe pain and their pain intensity increased during the postoperative period. Less than half of the children reported the use of pain assessment tools. The children reported pain in places other than their surgical wound, and said that nausea and vomiting felt unpleasant and painful. The children indicated that pain medications and the use of non-pharmacological methods helped them to cope with their pain. They recommended that nurses used non-pharmacological methods more often. Children would like to be given more information about pain and what is going to happen and reassurance that their parents would be present when they wake up. In addition, they recommended giving them pain medication more rapidly.
More than half of the children experienced moderate to severe pain during the postoperative period. The children reported seldom use of pain assessment tools, and wanted the nurses to use more non-pharmacological methods and give pain medication more rapidly. Pediatric postoperative pain management remains suboptimal.
Participants, hospital staff
Medicines for Children Network, Norway, Children's Surgical Department, OUS, Norway, Norwegian Nurses Organization, Sykehusbarn, Support from South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority