The effects of a hospital staff training program on the treatment practices of postoperative pain in children under 8 years.
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The widespread use of day case surgery for minor operations in children places increased emphasis on home care, parental responsibility and attention to suitable analgesia. This study evaluated a training program for doctors and nurses on postoperative analgesia in children by following up parental perceptions of pain relief after discharge. The main objective of our study was to determine the effects of a training program on treatment practices in the hospital and on the home care instructions provided. The study was carried out in two phases. A questionnaire was sent to parents of children aged under 8 years who had undergone a minor otorhinolaryngological operation (tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, irrigation of maxillary sinus, insertion of grommets, or paracentesis) at the Day Case Unit in Kuopio University Hospital. The parents of 115 children returned the questionnaire in the preintervention study and those of 112 children in the postintervention study (response rates: 79% and 86% respectively). The training program for personnel (intervention) was organized between the two studies. It started with a one‐hour lecture on postoperative pain and pain treatment in children, and the lecture was followed by two weeks of bedside teaching. The overall standard of pain treatment in the hospital was good. Most of the children had no pain or only mild pain on discharge (93% before the intervention and 90% after the intervention). The intervention had no effect on the likelihood of children receiving pain medication. Noticeable changes occurred in the selection of pain medicines and dosage forms, and in the increased number of home care instructions provided for parents. We conclude that the training program for both professional groups (doctors and nurses) can be beneficial in changing the treatment practice (especially the use of medicines and dosage forms). Such training programs also make it possible to emphasize the importance of proper instructions for home care and thus to improve the quality of information provided for parents.
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