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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Children's pain on the first post-operative day Miller, Lori-Mae


A review of the literature identified that few research studies have been published which examined the post-operative pain of children, particularly those between the ages of 4 and 7 years. As a result, theoretical literature has been the major contributor to the understanding of the concept of children's post-operative pain. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to describe the post-operative pain of hospitalized children aged 4 to 7 years on the first postoperative day, through a self-reported measure of pain intensity levels as well as descriptions of the children's overt behaviours used to express pain. Data were gathered on the pain intensity levels (using the PCT) and overt behaviours of 11 children between the ages of 4 and 8 years on the first post-operative day between the hours of 0800 and 2000. In addition, data regarding parental presence and the administration of analgesics were also collected for these children. Findings related to pain intensity scores provided the basis for three important conclusions. First, all of the children were able to place a value on their pain using the PCT. Second, all of the children were experiencing some degree of post-operative pain possibly related to the lack of consistent administration of analgesia. Third, parental presence did not influence the pain intensity scores reported by the children. Findings related to the overt behaviours exhibited by children also provided the basis for three important conclusions. First, the most frequent behaviours identified were not those normally associated with feelings of pain. The researcher believed that this lack of expected response was as a result of the children's ability to adapt and cope with the pain. Second, behavioural measurement of pain may not be a reliable and valid measure of post-operative pain. Third, parental presence or absence did not influence the overt behaviours exhibited.

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