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Anaesthesia. 1996 Jun;51(6):588-90.

Postoperative pain in children.

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Sheffield Children's Hospital NHS Trust.


An audit project was designed to assess and improve the provision of postoperative analgesia in a children's hospital. Pain assessment for all children and analgesia standards for our institution were introduced prior to data collection. Data were collected on consecutive samples of 316 and 325 children undergoing surgery as inpatients during 10-week periods. Change was initiated between the two periods in response to our findings; our action plan involved education, changes to documentation, the widespread use of diclofenac in children over 2 years of age and recommendations for the prescription of analgesia. The initial prescription of analgesia increased from 95% to 98% (p = 0.019), administration of analgesia to children experiencing bad or severe pain increased from 57% to 71% (p = 0.032) and the number of children experiencing severe pain reduced from 17% to 11% (p = 0.050). Application of audit, by a clinical nurse specialist, enabled us to achieve and demonstrate improvements in the prescription, administration and effectiveness of postoperative analgesia.

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