Perceptions of children and their parents about the pain experienced during their hospitalization and its impact on parents’ quality of life

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Abstract

Objective

The aim of the study was to assess pain levels and perceptions concerning pain by both children and their parents during hospitalization, as well as the impact of that pain upon parents’ quality of life.

Methods

The sample of the study consisted of 92 pediatric cancer patients, 159 pediatric patients with musculoskeletal problems and one of their parents. The study was performed between November 2010 and May 2011. The Pediatric Pain Questionnaire (Parent Version) and the PedsQL-Family Impact Module were used for pain assessment and the quality of life by the parents. Young patients completed the pediatric version of the Pediatric Pain Questionnaire for the evaluation of pediatric pain. Pain was measured by using the Wong–Baker facial pain scale, included in both parent and child version of the Pediatric Pain Questionnaire. This rating scale is recommended for children 3 years and older.

Results

Young patients reported higher acute pain scores than their parents (z = −2.5, P = 0.011; 99% confidence interval: 0.008–0.013). Young patients with orthopedic disorders had higher acute and chronic pain scores in comparison to their parents’ reports (z = −3.4, P = 0.001; 99% confidence interval: 0.000–0.001 and z = −2.3, P = 0.021; 99% confidence interval: 0.017–0.025, respectively). Girls reported higher pain scores than boys (z = −2.0, P = 0.047; 99% CI: 0.041–0.052).

Conclusions

Parental reports tended to underestimated children's pain, especially acute pain. The sex of children, the age and the marital status affect the perceptions of both children and their parents about pain. The parental quality of life is affected especially when the pain is caused by life-threatening diseases such as cancer. However, it improves as the treatment of their children is completed with no complications.

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