University of Oulu

Henna Lempinen, Tarja Pölkki, Helvi Kyngäs, Pirjo Kaakinen, Feasibility and Clinical Utility of the Finnish Version of the FLACC Pain Scale in PICU, Journal of Pediatric Nursing, Volume 55, 2020, Pages 211-216, ISSN 0882-5963,

Feasibility and clinical utility of the Finnish version of the FLACC pain scale in PICU

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Author: Lempinen, Henna1; Pölkki, Tarja2,3; Kyngäs, Helvi4,5;
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management, Finland
2Oulu University Hospital, Department of Children and Women, Finland
3PEARL (Pain in Early Life) research group, Finland
4Medical Research Group, Finland
5University of Oulu and Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District, Medical Research Group, PL, Finland
6University of Oulu, Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management, PL, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-11-05


Purpose: To describe the feasibility and clinical utility of the Finnish FLACC scale when assessing children’s pain in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

Design and methods: A non-experimental, descriptive cross-sectional study design was used to describe the feasibility and clinical utility in a Finnish PICU between May and August 2018. The nurses were asked to complete a data collection questionnaire about the feasibility and clinical utility of the Finnish FLACC every time they used the scale to assess pain in children. In total, the data consisted of 157 pain assessments cases. Quantitative data were analyzed statistically and responses to open-ended questions were analyzed using content analysis.

Results: In most cases, the nurses agreed that the Finnish FLACC scale was clearly structured (97%), easy to use (98%), helpful in assessing pain intensity (77%), and useful when reassessing pain after interventions (67%). Nurses found the scale more useable for children over one year old than for younger children. When assessing cry and consolability, pain was easier to score if the child was not intubated.

Conclusions: The Finnish FLACC scale exhibits adequate feasibility and clinical utility when assessing pain in children in a PICU. However, more information is needed about its use during painful short-term procedures and with children under one year old.

Practice implications: The Finnish FLACC scale is a helpful tool for nurses when assessing children’s pain in a PICU. However, the Finnish version of the modified FLACC is needed for use with intubated children in the future.

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Series: Journal of pediatric nursing
ISSN: 0882-5963
ISSN-E: 1532-8449
ISSN-L: 0882-5963
Volume: 55
Pages: 211 - 216
DOI: 10.1016/j.pedn.2020.07.011
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 316 Nursing
Copyright information: © 2020 Elsevier Inc. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license