Evidence-Based Practice – Task 2

A1. Healthcare Problems

Pain is defined as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience often associated with potential or actual damage to the human body tissue. Pain is a major problem within the delivery of healthcare, and especially for sick newborn infants or babies. In pediatric pain management, healthcare providers often prefer pharmacological pain relief. However, research indicates that this method may be ineffective and pose short-term and long-term side effects such as neurodevelopmental sequelae. Consistently, the effectiveness of analgesic methods has been termed ambiguous.

A2. The significance of the Problem

As compared to adult patient or older children, pediatric patient experience pain that is difficult to assess and treat. Pain management in children is often undertreated because of the belief that they do not suffer pain or remember the pain. However, evidence indicates that uncontrolled pain affects the patient’s quality of life, their emotional, cognitive, and behavioral elements (Kahsay, 2017). Pain management in the pediatric unit is important and beneficial in improving behavioral, physiologic, and hormonal outcomes (Mangat, Oei, Chen, Quah-Smith, & Schmölzer, 2018). Additionally, pain management prevents adverse consequences, especially on long-term neurological development. For instance, studies on animal models indicate that pain can affect future stress response. Consistently, while pharmacological methods are the most preferred mode of pain management, some are associated with adverse effects. For example, opioids are associated with adverse effects such as respiratory depression and somnolence. Understanding the adverse effects associated with pharmacological pain management, healthcare providers are now adopting non-pharmacological pain management. In light of this, the study sought to examine the effectiveness of non-pharmacological pain management in pediatric settings as compared to pharmacological intervention.

A3. Current Practice

Acute and chronic pains are common problems that are often debilitating to pediatric populations. Within the current practice, healthcare providers often use pharmacological relief to manage pain in children. Unfortunately, as Kahsay (2017) expounds, the current pharmacological procedures are extrapolated from adult pain management and do not have any evidence of value in children. Besides, the current pharmacological treatment options have various adverse effects on children. For instance, Wren et al. (2019) note that opioid therapy is one of the pharmacological interventions used and is often referred to as the cornerstone of acute, postoperative, and chronic pain management in pediatric. Unfortunately, despite the benefits associated with opioids, they also have several side effects such as constipation, psychiatric comorbidities, cognitive function, and respiratory depression. Increased use of opioid use is also linked to physical tolerance, drug dependence, heightened pain sensitization, and addiction, which can have adverse effects in the future. D’Souza, Wren, Almgren, Ross, Marshall, and Golianu (2018) also note that the long-term use of opioids risks outweighs the benefits, especially with chronic pain patients. Consistently, and recognizing the negative effects associated with the use of opioids, there have been efforts to adopt analgesia treatment. Within the clinical practice, healthcare providers are now combining pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment options to reduce the adverse impacts of opioids. The combination of two methods is intended to enhance patient comfort, reduce reliance on opioid therapy, and improve functionality.

A4. Impact on Background

Acute and chronic pain affects millions of pediatric patients every year. However, despite the increased focus on the importance of controlling pain, pain management remains suboptimal. Uncontrolled pain in children is associated with various adverse effects on the emotional, physical, cognitive, and the psychological well-being of the patients. Uncontrolled pediatric pain is also likely to affect patient outcomes, which will be reflected in organizational outcomes.

B. Evidence Sources

Research Articles

Pain management poses various challenges to healthcare providers, especially in the pediatric unit. Pain is associated with several negative outcomes. For instance, infants who undergo circumcision at birth without analgesia are likely to experience stress during routine immunization between 4 and 6 months. The study by Mangat et al. (2018) highlights that pharmacological pain relief is the most commonly used pain management method. However, according to Mangat et al., the use of pharmacological relief, especially opioids in children has several adverse effects. Recognizing this, healthcare providers are adopting alternative methods – non-pharmacological interventions to manage pain in children. Mangat et al. outline some of the non-pharmacological methods such as acupuncture, non-nutritive sucking, breastfeeding, therapeutic massage, and music therapy among others. Supported by evidence from 26 studies, the article found that non-pharmacological interventions have the potential to enhance pain management with no adverse effects.

Consistently, Wren et al. (2019) identified opioid as the cornerstone of treatment for acute, postoperative, and chronic pain in pediatric settings. Opioids are regularly prescribed for severe and chronic pain. However, although the treatment option is associated with several benefits in pain management, Wren et al. highlight that they also have several debilitating side effects such as cognitive dysfunction, psychiatric comorbidities, physical tolerance, dependence, and addiction. In this case, and considering the negative outcomes associated with opioid, healthcare providers and related agencies have been proposing the adoption of other pain management options. In particular, the integration of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions has been favored. Clinicians have been sensitized to consider the use of nonpharmacologic therapy and nonopioid pharmacologic options to manage chronic pain in patients. Evidence indicates that the combination of non-pharmacological and non-opioid pharmacological pain management can be effective in the management of acute and chronic pain and improving the quality of life of the patient. Concerning non-pharmacological pain management methods, the study highlights mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy, medical hypnosis, massage, music therapy, and acupuncture. 

Non-Research Articles

According to the article, the American Academy of Pain Medicine in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics understands that pain is associated with injuries and diseases (Pennsylvania Department of State, 2017). Children and adolescents are more likely to experience acute pain. The guidelines provided for safe prescription of opioids for Pennsylvania recognize the effects associated with the use of opioids and provide a detailed outline of when opioids can be used. Further, the article recommends the use of non-pharmacological pain management interventions citing the adverse effects associated with opioids. In support, an article posted on the American Society of Anesthesiologists (2019) has also cited the adverse effects of opioids. In particle, the article acknowledges the fear of opioid abuse in parents but still notes that some parents believe that opioids are still more effective in managing pain in children. The article highlights the conflicted relationship between opioids, adverse effects, and risks. In addition, the article highlighted that parents are not asking about alternatives to opioids used. Nonetheless, in the end, the article acknowledges that there are better and effective alternatives to opioids, which can be used in pain management among children.

C. PICOT Question

In pediatric care settings, how effective is non-pharmacological pain management as compared to pharmacological pain management in controlling pain in children during hospitalization.

D. Evidence Matrix

Authors
Journal Name
Year of PublicationResearch DesignSample SizeOutcome Variables MeasuredQuality (A, B, C)Results/Author’s Suggested Conclusions
Wren, Ross, D’Souza, Almgren, Feinstein, Marshall, & Golianu.Children (basel, Switzerland),2018Systematic review84 articles were screened1. Evidence of commonly utilized integrative non-pharmacological therapies in pediatric multidisciplinary pain management.2. Opioid effects in the treatment of pediatric painThe results suggested that pharmacological and integrative non-pharmacological therapies were effective in the treatment of acute and chronic pain. Some of the non-pharmacological interventions found to have long-term benefits include acupuncture, hypnosis, CBT, and MBIs.
Mangat, Oei, Chen, Quah-Smith, & Schmölzer.Children2018Systematic review 26 studiesAssess the long-term consequences of non-pharmacological pain management methods.The authors concluded that pain relief methods given to infants have various short-term and long-term implications. There is limited evidence to support the effectiveness of non-pharmacological methods. Although some appear safe, there is a need to carry out further research to determine their effects on infants.
Oliveira& LinharesPsychology and Neuroscience2015Systematic review12 articlesSystematically review the recent literature on the effectiveness of non-pharmacological pain management intervention for children during medical procedures.The authors noted that the review demonstrated the effectiveness of non-pharmacological pain management intervention in children undergoing medical procedures. Distraction was cited as one method to relieve acute pain in the pediatric setting. Nonetheless, the authors also noted that there lack enough randomized controlled trials in this particular area and recommend the need to design this design.
Chotolli & Luize Revista Dor2015Descriptive, exploratory study35 nursing professionalsIdentify pain measurement scales and non-pharmacological interventions used in pediatric settings by nurses.The authors observed major difficulties among participants in measuring pain in children between 0 and 2 years. Pharmacological pain relief methods were found to be the first choice of participants. There is insufficient knowledge of non-pharmacological pain relief methods among participants. Recommendations included training on pain measurement scale and non-pharmacological pain management interventions.
Bergomi, Scudeller, Pintaldi, & Dal.Journal of Pediatric Nursing2018Randomized controlled study150 children were enrolled in the studyEvaluate the effectiveness of two non-pharmacological interventions – Buzzy® device and animated cartoons during venipuncture in pediatrics.The authors found that the use of non-pharmacological interventions during venipuncture were effective. In particular, distractions such as cartoons and Buzzy® were especially effective. 

E. Recommended Practice Change

Evidence indicates that pharmacological pain management has various adverse effects as demonstrated by Mangat et al. (2018). Wren et al. (2019) highlight that opioid is the most popular pharmacological intervention in the pediatric setting and although it is often referred to as the cornerstone of pain management, it is associated with several negative effects. Considering the negative outcomes associated with pharmacological interventions, healthcare providers are shifting to non-pharmacological interventions. The reviewed studies indicate the effectiveness of non-pharmacological interventions in pain management within pediatric healthcare settings. In particular, Wren et al. found that the integration of pharmacological and non-pharmacological pain management interventions was efficient in the management of acute and chronic pain in the pediatric setting. The article by Oliveira and Linhares (2015) supported the same with result findings indicating that non-pharmacological pain management intervention was effective in the management of acute and chronic pain among children. Consistently, Bergomi et al. (2018) found that the use of non-pharmacological intervention in pediatric pain management was effective. In particular, the study found that distractions such as cartoons and Buzzy ® were considerably effective. However, the article by Mangat et al. differed slightly by acknowledging that evidence for non-pharmacological interventions remain sparse and recommended the need for future research. The article by Chotolli and Luize (2015) sought to identify non-pharmacological methods used by pediatric nurses in the management of cancer pain in children. The results indicated that knowledge of non-pharmacological pain management interventions remain scarce, which implied the need for educational interventions to inform nurses and other healthcare providers of non-pharmacological pain management methods. Accordingly and drawing upon the reviewed articles, the recommended practice change is the adoption of integrated non-opioid pharmacological and non-pharmacological pain management in the clinical practice.

F1. Key Stakeholders

The key stakeholders involved in the change process include healthcare organization implementing the clinical practice. The second stakeholder includes administrative personnel, pediatricians, and pediatric nurses working in the healthcare organization and who will be the drivers of change. The other key stakeholders include children who will receive evidence-based intervention.

F2. Barriers

Considering that the proposed clinical practice is a new practice, the change is likely to face some barriers. Some of the project barriers that are likely to face the implementation of integrated non-opioid pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions are lack of knowledge and skills and resistance to change. In one of the reviewed articles, results indicated that lack of knowledge about non-pharmacological interventions prevented the implementation of these changes and hindered the effectiveness of the intervention. Lack of knowledge and skills is a major barrier in the implementation of evidence-based interventions. The other barrier is resistance to change. This barrier can especially be caused due to lack of knowledge about the changes or negative attitudes from nurses about the change process leading to resistance. Physicians who feel they were left out in the change process may be opposed to the change.

F3. Strategies for Barriers

The success of the proposed change depends on the ability to overcome barriers. The first strategy to overcome these barriers includes providing education and necessary training programs to increase knowledge and awareness of non-pharmacological interventions and the way they can be used in pain management in the pediatric unit. The other strategy is including the key stakeholders from the beginning of the change process to reduce resistance.

F4. Indicator to Measure Outcome

The objective of the proposed change in clinical practice is to eliminate the adverse effects associated with pharmacological pain management interventions, especially opioids. The aim is to integrate nonopioid pharmacological and non-pharmacological pain relief methods to improve patient outcomes. The indicator to measure outcome will be the adoption of integrated non-opioid pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods in the pediatric setting. Specific goals to measure the outcome include improved patient outcomes in relation to pain management and reduced adverse effects of pain management interventions. 

Pain management in the pediatric setting is a major healthcare concern. Use of pharmacological pain management has been associated with several adverse effects. With this knowledge, the proposed change within the clinical practice is the use of non-pharmacological interventions. Evidence indicates that integrated nonopioid pharmacological and non-pharmacological pain management interventions are effective in the management of pain in pediatric settings. Notably, the proposed intervention is likely to face various barriers during the implementation process such as lack of knowledge and resistance from pediatricians and pediatric nurses.  Nonetheless, these barriers can be overcome to ensure the change process is successful.

References

American Society of Anesthesiologists. (2019). Parents worried about risks, but still think opioids are best for kids’ pain relief, nationwide survey shows. Retrieved from https://www.asahq.org/about-asa/newsroom/news-releases/2019/01/physaneswk19-news-release

Bergomi, P., Scudeller, L., Pintaldi, S., & Dal, M. A. (2018). Efficacy of Non-pharmacological Methods of Pain Management in Children Undergoing Venipuncture in a Pediatric Outpatient Clinic: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Audiovisual Distraction and External Cold and Vibration. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 42, e66-e72.

Chotolli, M. R., & Luize, P. B. (2015). Non-pharmacological approaches to control pediatric cancer pain: nursing team view. Revista Dor, 16(2), 109-113.

D’Souza, G., Wren, A. A., Almgren, C., Ross, A. C., Marshall, A., & Golianu, B. (2018). Pharmacological Strategies for Decreasing Opioid Therapy and Management of Side Effects from Chronic Use. Children, 5(12), 163.

Kahsay, H. (2017). Assessment and treatment of pain in pediatric patients. Current Pediatric Research, 21(1), 148-157.

Mangat, A., Oei, J.-L., Chen, K., Quah-Smith, I., & Schmölzer, G. (2018). A Review of Non-Pharmacological Treatments for Pain Management in Newborn Infants. Children, 5(130), 1-12.

Oliveira, N. C. A. C., & Linhares, M. B. M. (2015). Nonpharmacological interventions for pain relief in children: A systematic review. Psychology and Neuroscience, 8(1), 28-38.

Pennsylvania Department of State. (2017). Safe prescribing of opioids in pediatric and adolescent populations. Retrieved from https://www.dos.pa.gov/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardsCommissions/Documents/PA%20Guidelines%20-Pediatric%20and%20Adolescent%20Populations.pdf

Wren, A. A., Ross, A. C., D’Souza, G., Almgren, C., Feinstein, A., Marshall, A., & Golianu, B. (2019). Multidisciplinary Pain Management for Pediatric Patients with Acute and Chronic Pain: A Foundational Treatment Approach When Prescribing Opioids. Children (basel, Switzerland), 6(2). doi:10.3390/children6020033.

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