Effect of Distraction Methods on Pediatric Pain Report
Data from children’s hospitals reveal that pain in pediatric patients is common, under-recognized, and under-treated (International Association for the Study of Pain, 2021). Pain may be difficult for a child to verbalize and may present as crying or whimpering, changes in breathing, and guarding the painful area. Due to this difficulty in assessment, pediatric pain can be more objectively measured using multiple scales that include objective observations of behaviors that signify pain. Pediatric patients are exposed to procedural pain during medical procedures such as immunizations and venipunctures. “Procedural pain was the most frequently cited source of pain among interviewed patients and was poorly addressed in the medical record. Fifty percent of children with documented moderate-to-severe pain received scheduled pain medications.” (Shomaker, et al., 2015) In order to provide competent care to every patient, it is important for a nurse to utilize a holistic approach when determining patient interventions for pain. Consequently, nurses must have a knowledge of the different methods used to decrease pain for every age ranging from neonatal to geriatric. While the focus is on providing safe dependable care to each patient, it is common to principally advance to using pharmacological interventions to decrease pain, which can have many adverse side effects. For this reason, knowledge of nonpharmacological pain interventions, such as distraction techniques, and their impacts play a large role in providing holistic, safe care. The purpose of this evidence-based practice review is to explore the effect of distraction techniques on the report of pain in pediatric patients undergoing painful procedures. Nurses can use this information to implement both practices of advocacy and safety in order to provide equitable care to a population that often goes overlooked.