Pain assessment tools for use with children in acute pain in the emergency department
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Pain assessment tools for use with children in acute pain in the emergency department

Simon Ross Deveau Advanced nurse practitioner, emergency department, Torbay Hospital, Torquay, Devon, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To recognise that children’s acute pain should be assessed using validated tools appropriate for a child’s age and developmental status

  • To enhance your knowledge of the different types of validated pain assessment tools for use with children with acute pain

  • To understand that children’s self-reports of acute pain should be obtained whenever possible

There is a lack of timely administration of an appropriate analgesic for children in acute pain in emergency departments in the UK and elsewhere. Unrelieved acute pain may result in deterioration in a child’s physical and psychological condition therefore assessment is essential to enable triage nurses to offer an appropriate analgesic. This should be achieved by using a validated pain assessment tool which, where appropriate, enables the child to self-report their pain.

This article describes various validated pain assessment tools for use with children with acute pain and considers how triage nurses can determine which is the most appropriate to use. Regardless of which tool is selected, it is important to offer the child an analgesic and to reassess their pain at appropriate intervals.

Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2022.e2145

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

@sydeveau

Correspondence

res@srd.mozmail.com

Conflict of interest

None declared

Ross Deveau S (2022) Pain assessment tools for use with children in acute pain in the emergency department. Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2022.e2145

Published online: 23 August 2022

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