Aims and objectives. To enhance understanding of the experience of parents in managing their children’s postoperative pain in Singapore.
Background. Parents play a significant role in their hospitalised child’s postoperative pain care. Their active involvement may contribute to accurate pain assessment and effective pain management for their child. However, there is a lack of in-depth research exploring the experience of parents involved in their children’s postoperative pain management.
Design. This study adopted a descriptive qualitative approach, which is situated in the interpretive paradigm.
Method. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to collect data from 14 parents whose children were hospitalised in one of the three paediatric surgical wards in a hospital in Singapore in December 2009. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data.
Results. Three themes were identified: ‘Actions used by parents to alleviate their child’s postoperative pain’, ‘Factors influencing parents’ management of their child’s postoperative pain’ and ‘Parents’ needs in the process of caring for their child’s postoperative pain’. Parents used a range of non-pharmacological pain relief interventions for their child. Parental roles and expectations, bond between parent and child, support from nurses, family and own religious beliefs, as well as children’s age and maturity level were factors which promoted parental participation, whereas parents’ negative feelings, knowledge deficit and nurses’ busy schedule were hindering factors. Parents expressed needs for more involvement in their child’s care, adequate rest and information support from nurses.
Conclusions. This study highlights the importance of involving parents in their child’s postoperative pain management. It provides evidence for health care professionals to pay attention to factors that may influence parental participation and, therefore, guide their practice.
Relevance to clinical practice. Nurses need to provide parents with support and education to facilitate their roles and improve their child’s postoperative pain management.