Treating Chronic Pain in Pediatric Patients

Many pediatricians see the treatment of severe, chronic pain as the responsibility of other physicians, according to a new study in the Journal of Palliative Medicine.

For many pediatricians, the treating of their patients’ severe, chronic pain is considered to be the responsibility of other physicians, such as pain specialists, according to a study featured in the Journal of Palliative Medicine.

Researchers from the University of Florida College of Medicine, in collaboration with an investigator from Molloy College, found that only 32.3 percent of pediatricians surveyed considered the treatment of chronic pain as their responsibility. When asked about who should treat these pediatric patients, survey respondents cited pain specialists mostly frequently (58 percent), followed by other specialists (39.6 percent) and hospice providers (26.1 percent).

Pediatricians were also asked about the methods they used for evaluating pain and the treatments they typically provide. Patient self-reports were often or always used to evaluate pain for 84.2 percent of respondents, while 87.1 percent used parental reports. Non-verbal cues were always or often watched for by about 67 percent of Respondents, and about half of pediatricians reported asking patients to keep pain diaries. In terms of treatment, 61.7 percent of pediatricians said they often or always use acetaminophen, while 66.9% often or always use NSAIDS.

The researchers used 303 fully completed mail and online questionnaires about the treatment of severe, chronic pain to gather data.