Sickle Cell Disease Pain Management in Adolescents: A Literature Review

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Abstract

Sickle cell disease (SCD) pain continues to emerge in adolescents. More than 98,000 individuals are believed to have SCD in the United States. In fact, 1 in 500 Black infants will be affected by SCD. Identifying standards of care for this unique population can improve pain management and treatment. A significant effect of vaso-occlusive crisis is a decrease in the quality of life in children. Therefore, pain management is multidimensional and includes pharmacologic, physical, and psychological strategies. A review of the literature was conducted to identify best practices regarding pain management in adolescents with sickle cell anemia. Key words such aspain, pain management, adolescent sickle cell anemia, andacute sickle cell painwere entered into databases to reveal qualitative and quantitative studies from 2009 to the present. Many of the research articles identified poor SCD pain management. Studies showed that acute SCD pain management is essential and should be evaluated and robustly managed to achieve optimum pain relief for patients. Acute SCD pain usually occurs as a result of vaso-occlusive crisis. Untreated acute SCD pain can result in morbidity and mortality in adolescents. Nursing knowledge is critical to reducing the stigma and improving management of SCD pain. Nurses play a vital role in the introduction of evidence-based practice within the clinical setting. In an effort to educate nurses and other health care professionals about SCD, this article is a literature review of studies concerning SCD and pain management in emergency rooms.

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