Behavioral and Physiological Indicators of Procedural and Postoperative Pain in High-Risk Infants

Authors

  • Pamela S. Beacham

    Corresponding author
    1. Pamela S. Beacham, RNC, MSN, NNP, is a doctoral student, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Address for correspondence: Pamela S. Beacham, RNC, MSN, NNP, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB #7640 Carrington Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7640. E-mail: beacham@email.unc.edu.

Abstract

Nurses play a critical role in the assessment and management of infant pain. In this article, infant pain assessment tools that are valid, reliable, clinically sensitive, and developmentally appropriate are discussed. Their purpose, use in acute pain, and applicability for premature and newborn infant populations are described. Behavioral and physiological indicators of pain, sleep-wake states, and infant development are discussed as important considerations in pain assessment. Recommendations for improving pain assessment practices are offered in conclusion.

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