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Keywords:

  • children;
  • China;
  • non-pharmacological method;
  • pain relief;
  • parental guidance;
  • post operative pain

Aims and objectives.  The aim of the study was to describe parental guidance provided by Chinese nurses regarding non-pharmacological methods in children's surgical pain relief as well as factors related to this.

Background.  Parental involvement in children's pain management has been acknowledged and encouraged in recent years. However, parents’ lack of related information has been pointed out and little is known about how parents are guided to use non-pharmacological methods to relieve the pain.

Methods.  A previously validated European questionnaire survey was conducted in 2002. Structured questionnaires were distributed to all 187 nurses working at 12 surgical wards in five hospitals of Fujian Province, China. The average response rate was 98%.

Results.  The results show that nurses informed parents of the majority of cognitive information. The most commonly guided non-pharmacological methods were distraction, positive reinforcement, comforting/reassurance, positioning and relaxation. Nurses’ background factors, including age, education, nursing position, professional work experience, number of their own children and experiences of earlier hospitalizations of their children, were significantly related to their perceptions regarding parental guidance.

Conclusions.  Chinese nurses provided much guidance to parents on non-pharmacological methods. However, the results show that sensory information and physical methods were poorly conveyed to parents, which needs future attention to reinforce parents’ active role in pain management.

Relevance to clinical practice.  This study provides new information on Chinese nurses’ guiding parents to use non-pharmacological methods in pain alleviation, thereby contributing to the body of knowledge on this subject. Furthermore, the study makes the respondents aware of the importance of involving parents in their child's pain management.