Pain Management Tips for Parents
You can help your child control their pain or at least help them cope with the pain when it is not controlled well, by using some non-drug therapies. Non-drug therapies are strategies other than medication that can decrease pain and help your child feel more comfortable.
Birth to 18 months
1 - 3 years old
3 - 5 years old
6 - 12 years old
13 - 18 years old
- Place ice in a bag or use a cold gel pack and wrap in several layers to prevent that "shock" to the system
- As the child gets used to the temperature, unwrap a layer to expose more of the coolness
- Continue the process as they are able to tolerate it
Ice should not be left on the skin for more than 20 minutes and can provide significant relief after that period of time.
You can place the ice pack at the site of the pain or swelling, above the site, below the site or on the opposite side of the body and still provide benefit for some people.
Alternating ice and heat can also be beneficial depending on the type of pain. If you are unsure, your child's nurse can help.
Cold application is not appropriate for everyone. Some examples in which cold application may not help is people experiencing nerve pain or neuropathic pain.
Children with sickle cell anemia should avoid cold application for pain relief.
Parents are an essential part of the team caring for their child. You can advocate for the child when they cannot, or when they are not being heard. You, the parent, know that child best. You know what has worked well for them in the past and what has not worked well. You know which medications have resulted in unwanted side effects and which have provided the best relief.
When a patient's pain is not well controlled, the team can consult the Inpatient Pain Care Service (IPCS). IPCS is staffed by advanced practice nurses and pharmacists during business hours (Monday - Friday, 8am - 4:30pm) to coordinate and address inpatient referrals for pain management issues.