Postoperative pain in children

Gillies, Marjorie L (1995) Postoperative pain in children. MSc(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Children of all ages have minor surgery, a recognised cause of acute pain, but little is known about the pain experiences of children postoperatively. This dissertation reports the findings of a study of postoperative pain in children of different ages, the aims of which were: to establish the existence and severity of postoperative pain in children; to examine the pain experience of children and their reactions postoperatively; to study the response of parents to pain experienced by their child; to establish the ways in which nursing and medical staff recognise postoperative pain in children; and to investigate how nursing and medical staff react to children who are in pain. The three samples were children, aged from a few months up to eleven years, who had undergone elective minor surgery (n=107), their mothers (n=85) and nursing, surgical and anaesthetic staff (n=80). The children with language skills and all mothers were interviewed on the first postoperative day. School-aged children measured their pain using self-report methods; the adapted Eland Color Tool, a faces scale and two visual analogue scales, one of which involved colour. Mothers rated their children's pain with a visual analogue scale; the researcher assessed pain in pre-school children with Revised Objective Pain Scale and in all children with a visual analogue scale. The opinions of staff about postoperative pain in children were sought in semi-structured interviews. Many children were in moderate or severe pain on their first postoperative day. Professionals routinely used informal methods of pain assessment although a number of staff knew of formal pain measures. Despite difficulties with some of the measures employed in the study, more children and mothers indicated the presence of pain with a measure than acknowledged pain verbally. Analgesic administration was infrequent. Concerns about creating opiate dependency and communication difficulties between adult groups and between adults and children were found. The responses of mothers to seeing their child in pain focused on their concern for their child and communication difficulties with staff. The implied failure of staff to recognise or relieve children's pain adequately could be attributed to lack of knowledge about pain, indicating a need to review the education of nurses and doctors. Implications for practice, education and research are postulated.

Item Type: Thesis (MSc(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Advisers: W Ll Parry-Jones; L N Smith
Keywords: Nursing
Date of Award: 1995
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1995-41199
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 02 May 2019 13:07
Last Modified: 02 May 2019 13:07
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/41199

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