Deakin University

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Pain assessment and management in paediatric oncology: a cross-sectional audit

Version 2 2024-06-06, 07:38
Version 1 2017-01-31, 15:46
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-06, 07:38 authored by K Plummer, M McCarthy, I McKenzie, F Newall, E Manias
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To describe the pain assessment and management practices documented by health professionals within a tertiary-level Children's Cancer Centre and to evaluate how these practices were compared with international recommendations. BACKGROUND: Children with cancer are vulnerable to pain due to the intensity of antineoplastic therapy. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that current pain management practices provided to paediatric oncology inpatients are of a high quality. DESIGN: A single-site cross-sectional audit. METHODS: A 24-hour period of documented pain-related care in randomly selected inpatients of an Australian tertiary-level Children's Cancer Centre was examined. The current pain management practices were audited over a two-month period resulting in 258 episodes of pain-related care being reviewed. RESULTS: Pain related to medical treatment for cancer was common (n = 146/258, 57%) and persistent. The presence of pain was not consistently recorded by health professionals (n = 75/146, 51%). Pain was mild (n = 26/75, 35%) and opioids were the mainstay of pain management interventions (n = 63/112, 56%). Adjuvants were an important component of pain management (n = 47/112, 42%), and nonpharmacological methods of managing pain were under-represented in this audit (n = 38/146, 26%). According to the Pain Management Index, pain was appropriately managed for the majority of children (n = 65/76, 87%). CONCLUSIONS: Pain management practices did not fully reflect the recommendations of contemporary paediatric pain management. Due to limitations in the documentation of children's pain, it was difficult to determine the effectiveness of pain management interventions. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: This study highlights the ongoing problem of pain for children receiving antineoplastic therapy. It is recommended that health professionals routinely screen for the presence of pain during hospitalisation and assess the efficacy of pain-related care.



Journal of clinical nursing






Chichester, Eng.







Publication classification

C Journal article, C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2016, John Wiley & Sons




Wiley-Blackwell Publishing