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Pain Research and Management
Volume 13, Issue 4, Pages 321-326
Original Article

Achieving Organizational Change in Pediatric Pain Management

Stephanie Dowden,1 Maria McCarthy,2 and George Chalkiadis1,3

1Children’s Pain Management Service, Department of Paediatric Anaesthesia and Pain Management, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
2Psycho-Oncology Program, Children’s Cancer Centre, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
3Clinical Associate Professor, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

Copyright © 2008 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: Pain in hospitalized children is often under-treated. Little information exists to guide the process of organizational change with a view to improving pain management practices.

OBJECTIVES: To describe the process and results of a hospital-wide review of pain management practices designed to identify deficiencies in service provision and recommend directions for change in a pediatric hospital.

DESIGN: Prospective consultation of the clinical staff of a specialist pediatric hospital, using qualitative research methodology involving semistructured individual and group interviews. Recommendations based on the interview findings were made by a hospital-appointed working party.

RESULTS: A total of 454 staff (27% of all clinical staff) from a variety of professional backgrounds, representing almost every hospital unit or department, were interviewed. Procedural and persistent (chronic) pain was identified as the area needing the most improvement. Barriers to improving pain management included variability in practice, outmoded beliefs and inadequate knowledge, factors which were seen to contribute to a culture of slow or no change. Recommendations of the working party and changes achieved after the review are described.

CONCLUSION: The review process identified deficiencies in the management of pain in children, and barriers to its effective management. With institutional support, the present review has guided improvement.