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Does Parental Anxiety Affect Children's Perception of Pain During Intravenous Cannulation?


Does Parental Anxiety Affect Children's Perception of Pain During Intravenous Cannulation?

Sushma Oommen et al. Nurs Child Young People.


Background: Pain associated with invasive medical procedures is a significant cause of anxiety for parents. This may increase children's anxiety, pain and fear.

Aim: To determine the anxiety perceived by parents of children undergoing intravenous cannulation and the influence of parental anxiety on the intensity of pain experienced, and to explore the association between selected variables and anxiety perceived by parents.

Method: A descriptive correlational approach was adopted and a purposive sample of 48 children and their parents was selected. The pilot study was conducted in the children's wards of a selected hospital in Mumbai, India, between August 2017 and January 2018. Parental anxiety was assessed using the short version of the Depression and Anxiety Stress Scales. Pain experienced by children was assessed using the Faces Pain Scale-Revised.

Results: Mild anxiety was experienced by 6% ( n =6) of parents, while 52% ( n =25) had moderate to extreme anxiety. More than one third of the children (35%, n =17) reported moderate pain and 31% ( n =15) reported severe pain. A positive correlation was found between pain and parental anxiety and between parental anxiety and age and birth order.

Conclusion: Parental anxiety influences the perception of pain in children. Parents should be made aware of how their anxiety can affect children's pain experiences during medical procedures and take measures to reduce anxiety, such as relaxation, distraction and deep breathing. Children's nurses can help parents manage preprocedural anxiety to reduce the traumatic effect on children.

Keywords: anxiety; child health; mental health; pain; parents; procedural pain.

Conflict of interest statement

None declared

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