University of Oulu

Anna-Kaija Palomaa, Mervi Hakala, Tarja Pölkki, Parents' perceptions of their child's pain assessment in hospital care: A cross-sectional study, Journal of Pediatric Nursing, Volume 71, 2023, Pages 79-87, ISSN 0882-5963,

Parents’ perceptions of their child’s pain assessment in hospital care : a cross-sectional study

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Author: Palomaa, Anna-Kaija1,2,3; Hakala, Mervi1,2,3; Pölkki, Tarja1,2,3
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Health Sciences and Technology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu, University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-04-28


Purpose: A prerequisite for successful pain management is identifying the pain and assessing its intensity. The aim of this study was to describe parents’ perceptions of their child’s pain assessment in hospital care.

Design and methods: This study was a descriptive cross-sectional study. A questionnaire was completed by parents (n = 261) whose child was hospitalized in one of the pediatric units (n = 6) of the University Hospital in Finland. Quantitative data were analyzed using statistical methods; open-ended data were analyzed using inductive content analysis.

Results: Parents reported that their children experienced moderate (36%) to severe pain (42%) during hospitalization. The most intense pain experienced by the children was associated with needle-related procedures (41%). A large proportion of parents (83%) were involved in their child’s pain assessment. Parents were satisfied with their child’s pain assessment but perceived some shortcomings. Parents hoped that a variety of methods would be used to assess their child’s pain and that the parents’ and child’s views on pain would be taken into account.

Conclusions: Most children experience moderate to severe pain during hospitalization. Parents are often involved in pain assessment but are rarely instructed to use pain scales.

Practice implications: Child’s pain should be assessed regularly and frequently enough. It is important that the child and parents are involved in shared decision-making about pain assessment and treatment, and they have opportunities to ask questions. Guidance should be offered to parents about the use of pain assessment scales.

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Series: Journal of pediatric nursing
ISSN: 0882-5963
ISSN-E: 1532-8449
ISSN-L: 0882-5963
Volume: 71
Pages: 79 - 87
DOI: 10.1016/j.pedn.2023.03.012
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 316 Nursing
Funding: The study was supported by the State Research Funding of the Oulu University Hospital.
Copyright information: © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (