A study published in this month’s edition of Pediatric Anesthesia reports that parents are significantly better at assessing postoperative pain in their children than are health professionals. In children with limited understanding and communication skills, reliable assessment of pain is challenging. Self-reporting of pain remains the gold standard of pain measurement, but the findings suggest that for children who are unable to self-report their pain, assessments made by their parents may be a reliable proxy measure.
The study involved 307 children aged 1 to 13 who underwent outpatient surgery. The study compared the pain ranking by children able to rate their own pain with the assessment given alternately by parents or by attending healthcare professionals. Researchers reported significantly closer correlation between parent and child scores, as compared with healthcare professionals.
The article abstract, with link to access to the complete report, may be read here.