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Paediatr Anaesth. 2012 Oct;22(10):1016-24. doi: 10.1111/pan.12004.

Developing a pediatric pain service.

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Department of Anesthesiology/Critical Care Medicine, Charlotte Bloomberg Children's Center, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.


Pediatric pain services were first established in larger pediatric centers over two decades ago. Children's acute pain was poorly managed at the time owing to misconceptions, safety concerns, and variability in practice. While many larger pediatric centers now have acute pain services, there remains a need for better pain management in facilities and geographic locations with fewer resources. Institutional acknowledgement and desire to change, appropriate staffing, and funding are major obstacles. Better recognition and assessment as well safer and more efficacious treatment of pain are the principal objectives when establishing a pain service. It is important to determine whether the proposed service intends to treat acute, chronic, procedural, and/or cancer and palliative pain as each requires different skills and resources. An ideal and comprehensive pediatric pain service should be equipped to diagnose and treat acute, persistent (chronic), procedural, and cancer/palliative pain. It is not feasible or necessary for every hospital to manage all. Establishing the scope of practice (based on case mix and caseload) in any given hospital will determine which resources are desired. Country-specific standards, local staffing, and fiscal constraints will influence which resources are available.

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