Pediatric pain assessment : the role of the parent at the bedside


Pain is an inherently subjective experience and should be assessed and treated as such; however, it is well documented that pediatric pain remains under assessed and under treated by nurses and healthcare professionals. To treat pain adequately, ongoing assessment of its presence and severity is critical to improving outcomes for pediatric patients. Although reliable, valid, and clinically sensitive assessment tools are available to healthcare providers, self-report is considered the "gold standard" to assess pain given its subjective nature. Children, particularly those between 1 and 7 years of age, are one of the most vulnerable populations with respect to poor pain management. Due to progression of cognitive development, they often lack the verbal fluency or vocabulary needed to describe the location, radiation, quality, and intensity of the pain they experience. As a result, pain often goes under treated; and, studies reveal that inadequately treated pain can have a detrimental impact on the course of childhood development. In order to prevent mismanagement of pain, parental pain reports are often used when self-report is inadequate or unable to be provided. This thesis provides a comprehensive review of research literature regarding the role of the parent in pediatric pain assessment and the ability of parents to serve as a proxy in reporting pain for their child. Studies included methods and behaviors parents use to assess their children's pain; parental assessment with use of clinically reliable pain measurement tools; and, comparisons of parental pain assessments to those made by nurses and healthcare professionals. The findings of the review of literature were used to make recommendations for nursing research, education and clinical practice.


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Thesis Completion





Allred, Kelly


Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)


College of Nursing

Degree Program



Dissertations, Academic -- Nursing;Nursing -- Dissertations, Academic







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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