Aim: To facilitate the uptake of evidence and to reduce the evidence practice gap for management of newborn pain through the development of a clinical practice guideline.
Method: An audit of practice and an appraisal of clinical practice guidelines were undertaken to establish current practices and guideline availability for the management of newborn pain in 23 hospitals in Australia. Guidelines were appraised using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation instrument. A literature search was undertaken to acquire the evidence for best practice for management of newborn pain.
Results: Neonatal units in 17 hospitals had clinical practice guidelines. Each was peer reviewed and assessed according to the domains of the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation instrument. There was lack of consistency across the guidelines. As a result, a best practice guideline was developed based on current best evidence and the Royal Australian College of Physicians recommendations. To facilitate an ongoing compliance with the guideline, an audit tool was included together with algorithms for procedural pain and pain assessment.
Conclusion: The clinical practice guideline can be used by clinicians in varying settings such as the neonatal intensive care and special care unit. The document can be used to support existing practices or challenge clinicians to close the evidence practice gap for the management of newborn pain.