Date of Paper/Work

5-2012

Type of Paper/Work

Scholarly project

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Nursing

Department

Nursing

Advisor(s)

Kathleen Kalb

Abstract

The management of post-operative pain in children is an art and a science that has yet to be perfected. While research findings differ widely on medications, methods, and timing of interventions to manage post-operative pain, one finding is consistently reported: the treatment of pediatric post-operative pain is suboptimal (Corizzo, Baker, & Henkelmann, 2000; Dowden, McCarthy, & Chalkiadis, 2008; Kavanagh, Watt-Watson, & Stevens, 2007; Vadivelu, Mitra, & Narayan, 2010; Zhang, Hsu, Zou, Li, Wang, & Huang, 2008). Reasons for this deficiency originate in biases of clinicians and parents, difficulties in assessing pain due to variances in physical and developmental levels of children, and lack of research in best practices for pediatric pain management. Because hospital stays are reduced, parents or caregivers must often manage this pain at home. Therefore, educating these primary caregivers in the safe, effective use of pain medications, the reduction of side effects, and the appropriate tapering of the medications is paramount. It is also complex and multifaceted. Preferred methods of patient education are under much scrutiny and the needs of this group of learners are extensive. It is not enough to teach on just the cognitive level. Psychosocial, cultural, and environmental factors impact both the learning and the perceived need for managing children’s post-operative pain management at home. Therefore, when educating caregivers on this important task, a learning device that addresses these barriers and provides a simple guide for medication management appears to be a promising solution. This paper presents such a learning device, designed for the purpose of assisting parents in the timing, the dosing, and, ultimately, the elimination of opioid and antispasmodic medications for their children at home. This tool is called the Taper Wheel.

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