Resources for the Family
Helping Children with Pain
A hospital stay can be stressful for children and parents. Our goal is to help children to be as comfortable as possible while they heal. Our health care team will work together with your family to reduce your child's pain. Be sure to discuss your ideas and suggestions with your child's doctor, nurse and hospital staff.
Nurses will assess (measure) your child's pain every four hours, or more often if needed. If possible, we'll ask you and your child about how much pain your child may be experiencing. There are many pain assessment tools to help us measure a child's pain. We will use the pain assessment tool that works best for your child's developmental age, communication skill and medical condition.
We understand that some children communicate differently. Please tell the staff how you know when your child is in pain, especially if he or she can't tell you. Ask your nurse which pain assessment tool they are using.
Neonatal Pain Assessment Scale
Premature babies may not be able to communicate their pain. However, we can look at their behaviors to determine their level of pain. We use the Neonatal Pain, Agitation and Sedation Scale (N-PASS) to help us determine the baby's level of discomfort. The N-PASS evaluates the baby for crying, agitation, facial expressions, muscle tone and vital signs. All of these signs together help us to determine the baby's level of pain.
Behavioral Pain Assessment: The FLACC Scale
Babies, toddlers and developmentally delayed children often cannot use words to describe or rate their pain. However, their behaviors can help us determine their pain. Nurses can use the Face, Legs, Activity, Cry and Consolability (FLACC) behavioral tool to assess pain in these children. This tool looks at facial expressions, type of crying, child activity level and the child's level of agitation to determine the level of pain the child is experiencing.
The 0 to 10 Verbal Pain Scale
We ask older children to rate their pain from 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst pain) scale. This gives children a way to visualize the range of pain. This tool also helps adolescents to describe how their pain level changes with medication and or activity level and as their recovery continues.