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Pediatric Pain: Knowing the Child Before You 

Pediatric Pain: Knowing the Child Before You
Pediatric Pain: Knowing the Child Before You

Juliana H. O’Brien

, and Maggie C. Root

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date: 29 June 2022

Children and infants experience pain as a serious complication of disease and injury, but only recently have clinicians come to understand how children experience pain. Exposure to painful injury is associated with psychological consequences in infants and children, including posttraumatic stress symptoms, neurodevelopmental issues, increased anxiety, and cortical dysfunction in childhood. In seriously ill infants, pain may be associated with increased morbidity and mortality; in older children, untreated pain can lead to decreased functioning, social isolation, sleep disorders, and mood changes. Prevention and relief of pain for this vulnerable population is essential. Pain assessment and management in infants and children require that palliative care nurses understand the developmental stages of childhood. This chapter provides a recommended approach to pain assessment and pain management in children. It outlines age-specific and developmentally appropriate pain assessment tools. It describes commonly observed pain behaviors in verbal and nonverbal children. It highlights the management differences between acute pain, neuropathic pain, and chronic pain. It details a combined nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic (including weight-based dosing) approach for pain management.

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