Distraction Kits for Pain Management of Children Undergoing Painful Procedures in the Emergency Department: A Pilot Study

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Abstract

To assess the feasibility, usefulness, and acceptability of using distraction kits, tailored to age, for procedural pain management of young children visiting the emergency department and requiring a needle-related procedure. A pre-experimental design was piloted. A kit, tailored to age (infants-toddlers: 3 months-2 years; preschoolers: 3–5 years), was provided to parents before their child's needle-related procedure. Data was collected to assess feasibility, usefulness, and acceptability of the kits by parents and nurses. Pain was measured pre-, peri-, and postprocedure using the Face, Legs, Activity, Cry, Consolability scale. A total of 25 infants and toddlers (mean age: 1.4 ± .7 years) and 25 preschoolers (mean age: 4.0 ± .9) participated in the study. Parents and nurses considered the kits useful and acceptable for distraction in the emergency department, especially in the postprocedural period. Addition of more animated and interactive toys to the kits was suggested. In the infants-toddlers group, mean pain scores were 1.6 ± 2.5 preprocedure, 7.1 ± 3.0 periprocedure, and 2.5 ± 2.5 postprocedure. In the preschoolers group, mean pain scores were 1.6 ± 3.0 preprocedure, 4.8 ± 3.4 periprocedure, and 2.0 ± 3.2 postprocedure. Distraction kits were deemed useful and acceptable by parents and emergency nurses. They are an interesting nonpharmacologic option for nurses to distract children, giving them a sense of control over their pain and improving their hospital experience. Future research should address the feasibility of distraction kits for a broader population of patients and a variety of painful procedures.

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