Parents' roles in using non-pharmacological methods in their child's postoperative pain alleviation


Tarja Pölkki, Parkkisenranta 2, as. 5, 90650 Oulu, Finland (tel.: +358 8530 7529; e-mail:


• Increasingly nowadays, parents participate more fully in the care of their hospitalized children.

• The purpose of this study was to describe parents' utilization of selected non-pharmacological methods in relieving their hospitalized child's (aged 8–12 years) postoperative pain, and factors related to this function.

• Data were collected by a questionnaire survey completed by parents (n=192) with a child hospitalized on a paediatric surgical ward in the five university hospitals of Finland. The response rate was 90%.

• Results indicated that non-pharmacological methods, such as emotional support and helping with daily activities, were well utilized whereas cognitive-behavioural and physical methods were less frequently used strategies.

• Certain background factors specific to the parents and their hospitalized children were significantly related to the non-pharmacological methods used by the parents. The hospitalized child's gender, the time of the surgical procedure, and the parents' assessments of their child's pain intensity, were especially significantly related to many of these strategies.

• The findings of this study could be used in clinical practice to improve guidance provided to parents regarding interventions for children's pain relief.