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Pain Research and Management
Volume 19, Issue 1, Pages e24-e30
Original Article

Pain Prevalence in a Pediatric Hospital: Raising Awareness during Pain Awareness Week

Denise Harrison,1,2,3,4 Cynthia Joly,1 Christine Chretien,1 Sarah Cochrane,1 Jacqueline Ellis,1,3 Christine Lamontagne,1 and Vaillancourt Regis1

1Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
2University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
3University of Ottawa, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
4Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Parkville, Victoria, Australia

Copyright © 2014 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: Despite the evidence and availability of numerous validated pain assessment tools and pain management strategies for infants and children, their use remains inconsistent in clinical practice.

OBJECTIVES: To describe the prevalence of pain, pain assessment and pain management practices at a tertiary pediatric hospital in Canada.

METHODS: The cross-sectional study design involved a combination of interviews with children and/or caregivers, and chart audits in five inpatient units. Information regarding pain intensity, painful procedures and pain management strategies was obtained from children and/or caregivers by interview. Patient charts were reviewed for information regarding pain assessment, pain scores, and pharmacological and nonpharmacological interventions.

RESULTS: Sixty-two children (four days to 17 years of age) participated. Most children or their caregivers (n=51 [84%]) reported that pain was experienced during their hospitalization, with 40 (66%) reporting their worst pain as moderate or severe. Almost one-half reported analgesics were administered before or during their most recent painful procedure. Nineteen (32%) reported sucrose, topical anesthetics or nonpharmacological interventions were used; however, they were documented in only 17% of charts. Pain scores were documented in 34 (55%) charts in the previous 24 h. The majority of the children or their caregiver (n=44 [71%]) were satisfied with pain management at the study hospital.

CONCLUSIONS: Most infants and children had experienced moderate or severe pain during their hospitalization. Analgesics were frequently used, and although nonpharmacological strategies were reported to be used, they were rarely documented. Most parents and children were satisfied with their pain management.