At ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital, your child has a voice when it comes to pain assessment, prevention and treatment.
We treat children experiencing pain with the understanding that:
- Good pain control is important to getting better.
- Controlled pain makes it easier for your child to cope with their hospitalization.
- Children as young as two years of age can point to where it hurts.
- Your child might hide his or her pain, thinking that by expressing pain he will get a “shot.”
- Your child may not ask for pain medication because she assumes adults already know how she’s feeling.
- Your child does not become accustomed to pain or the things that cause pain.
- Addiction to narcotics used for pain management is rare in children.
- Treating your child’s pain is just as important as treating your child’s illness.
Two aspects of pain. When it comes to pain, kids experience two things: the bodily pain felt with an event such as a blood draw or an IV start; and how he or she feels about the pain, including memories, what he or she learns from others, the child’s health at the time, and whether the pain is quick.
And we know that babies do feel pain and discomfort, regardless of how they express it. For babies, bodily pain is felt prior to birth, as early as 24 weeks gestation (or six months).
We work with you and your child to identify when your child is in pain.
The best way to determine if your child is in pain is to ask him or her. However, children may not always tell us. Here are a few more ways we identify when your child is feeling pain:
- Specific tools designed for children:
- Who can speak.
- Who cannot speak.
- Who are babies.
- Observation. Children feeling pain may either sleep more or play harder.
- Checking your child’s heart rate, breathing and blood pressure.
- Depending on parents, legal guardians, and custodians, since your child may feel more comfortable expressing pain to those more familiar to them.
We work with you to treat your child’s pain. We involve you in a variety of treatments and principles to manage your child’s pain. Here are a few of which to be aware:
- Almost all pain can be treated with medicine taken by mouth.
- Pain “shots” are almost never needed.
- Around-the-clock pain medication is best, including during the night.
- Preventive treatment is best. Pain medication often takes time to work and children often can’t identify the early onset of pain.
- Patient controlled analgesia (PCA) machines are sometimes given to school-age children. A constant flow of pain medicine is given through an IV in your child’s arm. By pushing a button, your child can receive more pain medication if needed. It’s very important that only your child pushes the button to ensure he / she doesn’t receive more medication than needed.
- Your comfort is important. Rock, cuddle or offer a pacifier. Talking, singing or other soothing activities absolutely help manage your child’s pain.
- What works well for one child may not work with another. It’s important to carefully watch how your child reacts. If something isn’t working, it’s okay to move on and try something different.
Talk openly with your child’s nurses and caregiver. Share your concerns, observations, and ask questions.