Pediatric pain practices: a national survey of health professionals
The purpose of this study was to examine how health-care providers in U.S. teaching hospitals assess and manage children's pain. A 59-item questionnaire was sent to institutions with pediatric residency programs listed in the 1992 National Residency Matching Program. Two hundred and twenty-seven questionnaires were sent and 113 were returned. Two-thirds were from nurses, one-third from physicians. Sixty percent of the respondents stated that they had standards of care or protocols for pain in their institutions, but only one-quarter reported that the standards were followed 80% or more of the time. Use of formal pain-assessment tools was reported by 73% of the sample. Respondents reported that the effectiveness of pain assessment and management was lower for infants and younger children. Only 35% of the sample indicated it was "likely" or "very likely" that parents would be involved in planning prior to a painful event. Several obstacles to adequate pain management were identified by the respondents: knowledge deficit, attitudes, and resources.