Examination of burn patients' pain experience during resting conditions and procedures


Anxiety, Burns and scalds, Pain -- Psychological aspects


Pain is a major problem for bum patients, particularly during dressing changes and wound debridement. The bum patients' pain experience, related to resting conditions and procedural dressing changes, was studied. The purpose of this descriptive study was to describe bum patients' pain experience as related to resting and procedural pain and anxiety. Specifically, the research was designed to describe bum patients' pain and anxiety during resting conditions and dressing changes and describe bum patients' responses of their acceptable level of pain.

A convenience sample of 23 acutely burned adults over the age of 18 undergoing bum wound care without previous surgical intervention in a southeastern bum unit was recruited to participate in this study. Data were collected using the short-form McGill pain questionnaire, the Visual Analogue Scale-anxiety and the Visual Analogue Scale-pain. Demographics of the sample were collected. The Baseline Assessment Form and the Procedural Assessment Form were used to collect data regarding the setting and medications used prior to each measurement. Descriptive statistics, the Wilcoxon signed-ranks test, and the Friedman test were used to analyze data, describe the sample and report baseline and procedural responses of pain and anxiety.

The analysis of data revealed that there was a significant difference found between pain responses during resting conditions and procedures (z = -2.34, p = .02), with procedural pain being greater. There were no significant differences in anxiety between resting conditions and procedures (z = -1.41, p = .16). There was a significant difference between bum patients' acceptable level of pain, resting pain, and procedural pain (x2 = 9.2, p = .01). Resting pain was significantly lower than patients' acceptable level of pain (z = -2.97, p = < .01). Procedural pain was slightly lower than patients' acceptable level of pain but these results were not statistically significant (z = - .90, p = .37).

This study demonstrated that there are differences between bum patients' pain at rest and pain during procedures, specifically dressing changes. There are many implications for clinical practice. First, pain assessment must be based on the use of a valid and reliable patient self-report tool. Second, the pain management regimen must be highly individualized and should take into considerations the differences between resting and procedural pain. Third, pain and anxiety management should be studied utilizing multiple methods of pain and anxiety management techniques (i.e. medication, music, humor, and wound care teaching). Fourth, bum patients' acceptable level of pain should be assessed to provide adequate pain management. Lastly, further research is needed in the area of bum pain management. The area of bum pain management requires additional research to develop guidelines encompassing patients' bum experiences and effective outcomes focusing on the utilization of valid and reliable assessment tools.


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Graduation Date





Kijek, Jean


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Health and Public Affairs






114 p.



Length of Campus-only Access


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Masters Thesis (Open Access)




Dissertations, Academic -- Health and Public Affairs; Health and Public Affairs -- Dissertations, Academic

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