Aim: Italian national guidelines on pain management were published in 2010, but there is little information on how effective pain management is in paediatric emergency care, with other countries reporting poor levels. Using headache as an indicator, we described pain assessment in Italian emergency departments and identified predictors of algometric scale use. Methods: All Italian paediatric and maternal and child hospitals participated, plus four general hospitals. Data on all children aged 4-14 years admitted during a one-month period with headache as their chief complaint were abstracted from clinical records. Multivariable analyses identified predictors of algometric assessment, taking into account the cluster study design. Results: We studied 470 admissions. During triage, pain was assessed using a standardised scale (41.5%), informally (15.5%) or was not recorded (42.9%). Only 32.1% of the children received analgesia in the emergency department. The odds ratios for predictors of algometric assessment were non-Italian nationality (3.6), prehospital medication (1.8), admission to a research hospital (7.3) and a more favourable nurses-to-admissions ratio of 10.8 for the highest versus lowest tertile. Conclusion: Despite national guidelines, paediatric pain assessment in Italian emergency care was suboptimal. Hospital variables appeared to be stronger predictors of adequate assessment than patient characteristics.
|Journal||Acta Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 2016|
- Emergency care
- Pain assessment
- Pain management
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health