Using quality improvement strategies to enhance pediatric pain assessment

M J Treadwell, L S Franck, E Vichinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. To evaluate the impact of a quality improvement approach to implementing developmentally appropriate pain assessment guidelines for pediatric inpatients. Patient and staff satisfaction with pain assessment and management, and staff documentation were evaluated one year following the implementation of the revised pain assessment guidelines. Design. Quasi-experimental design. Setting. The pediatric hematology/oncology unit of a regional children's hospital. Study participants. A convenience sample of 36 children and 68 staff at time 1 (T1) and 49 children and 82 staff at time 2 (T2). Interventions. Staff were educated on the use of pediatric pain assessment tools and a standardized pain assessment protocol was put into practice. Children or their primary caregivers were interviewed, using a questionnaire modified from the American Pain Society quality assurance guidelines, regarding their experiences with pain assessment and management on the unit at T1, just prior to the staff education, and one year later at T2. Multidisciplinary unit staff completed a parallel questionnaire at T1 and T2. Main outcome measures. Patient and staff satisfaction with pain assessment and management, and chart audit of compliance with pain assessment documentation. Results. Patients, family members, and staff reported increased pain assessment, improved staff responsiveness to patients' pain and greater satisfaction with assessment tools between T1 and T2. Increased compliance with the assessment guidelines was confirmed by chart audit. Conclusions. Improved pain assessment and management practices with resultant increase in patient and staff satisfaction can be achieved and sustained over time using quality improvement strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39 - 47
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal For Quality in Healthcare
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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