An integrative review of interventions to support parents when managing their child's pain at home

Parker, Roses, McKeever, Stephen, Wiseman, Theresa and Twycross, Alison (2018) An integrative review of interventions to support parents when managing their child's pain at home. Pain Management Nursing, 19(2), pp. 139-156. ISSN (print) 1524-9042


To identify interventions aimed at helping parents manage their child's pain at home and to establish which aspects of interventions were effective. Integrative narrative review. MEDLINE, CINAHL Plus, PsychINFO, PsychArticles, AMED, PubMed, Scopus and Web of Knowledge databases were searched in 2016. This narrative synthesis followed Centre for Reviews and Dissemination and Economic and Social Research Council guidance. Reasons attributed to intervention success were analyzed using content analysis. From 2,534 papers, 17 were included. A majority were randomized controlled trials (n = 13) and most addressed postoperative pain (n = 15). A range of interventions were found that directly targeted parents, including child-parent interactions and health care professional-parent interactions, as well as complex interventions. Three studies were successful in reducing child pain at home and seven in increasing appropriate analgesic drug administration. Analysis of reasons attributed to interventions success revealed characteristics of interventions, components of parental pain management, and key features of research that aid researchers in designing and evaluating interventions. Risk of bias was present because of inadequate randomization, lack of a control group, and underpowered studies. Nurses should be aware that targeting parents directly is the most effective way of reducing child pain at home. Nurses need to advocate for effective analgesics for their child patients because the ineffectiveness of many interventions was attributed to inadequate analgesic drugs. Once this is achieved, success in increasing analgesic drug administration is most likely reached via parent-targeted interventions and those targeting health care professional-parent interactions. Successful interventions will be tailored to the child and adequately powered. Including a measure of sedation will ensure sedation is not mistaken for analgesic effectiveness. Interventions should address multiple facets of pain management and include a measure of pain over a period as opposed to a snapshot in time.

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