Poster Presentation

Monday, November 5, 2007
10:30 AM - 11:45 AM

Monday, November 5, 2007
1:45 PM - 3:00 PM
This presentation is part of : Rising Stars Posters
Pain in children with Down syndrome: Assessment and intervention by parents
Roswitha B. Davies, MSN, RN, School of Nursing, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA
Learning Objective #1: describe pain expressions in children with Down syndrome as assessed by parents.
Learning Objective #2: describe pain interventions used by parents of children with Down syndrome to relieve pain in their child.

No current research is available that specifically addresses how pain is assessed and managed in children with Down syndrome.  Research does show, however, that these children have genetic, physiologic, and cognitive differences that may alter their perception and response to pain.  The poster presentation will display a study that is currently underway on pain assessment and intervention by parents of children with Down syndrome.  Parent caregivers are considered acceptable surrogates for pain reporting in children. The specific aims of the study are (1) to describe how parents assess pain in their child with Down syndrome and (2) to examine the relationship between pain assessment and decisions by parents to intervene to relieve the child’s pain.  The study is using qualitative methodology that applies ethnographic interview techniques.  Parents, who are the primary caretakers of school-age children, ages 6-14 years, are eligible for the study.  Open-ended semi-structured questions are used to explore how parents identify pain expressions in their child and how they make decisions to intervene.  Data analysis is following Spradley’s Developmental Research Sequence (1979) for ethnographic data.  In preliminary findings, parents described that pain assessment for their child with Down syndrome required more questioning and probing, needed more vigilance, and left more uncertainty.  The parents described their children as being less responsive to painful stimuli in some situations than the children’s siblings without Down syndrome and quicker to recover when a pain event occurred.  Otherwise pain behaviors tended to be individualized to each child (e.g., a loud cry versus moaning; becoming quieter versus more emotional; use of signing versus words).  Once the presence of pain was established, interventions to alleviate pain included standard pharmacologic (e.g., acetaminophen, ibuprofen) and nonpharmacologic (e.g., comforting, massage) management. Additional findings will be added to the poster presentation as they become available.