“You Just Have to Make the Pain Go Away”—Children's Experiences of Pain Management

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This paper reports a study of the descriptions young children use and their expectations for pain management interventions experienced during hospitalization. The alleviation of children's pain has been investigated through the eyes of health care providers and parents, but the children's own perspective has largely been ignored. To date, there is a growing tendency to listen to the children when making final decisions on treatment in child health care. The evidence shows that children should be regarded as experts on their pain to maximize the options for pain management and to provide high-quality care. Forty-four children who were inpatients in four pediatric units in a university hospital participated in the study. The data were collected by means of a qualitative interview with the children until theoretic saturation was reached. The data analysis was based on inductive content analysis. The findings indicate that the children used multiple strategies while trying to deal with their pains during hospitalization and expected professional competence from health care professionals. Moreover, the children valued the care and attention provided by significant others. When managing pain in hospitalized children with a wide diversity of sources, the complexity of pain as a physiologic, psychologic, social, and cultural phenomenon must not be overlooked.

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