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The Portland hospital

Pain Management

When your child is treated at The Portland Hospital you can be safe in the knowledge that pain relief will be a central component of their treatment.

We have an expert multidisciplinary team who offer individualised care and provide a comprehensive approach to assessing and relieving acute and chronic pain in children.

We develop treatment plans with the primary goal of reducing or eliminating pain and enabling patients to achieve the highest possible level of function and independence.

When your child might need pain relief

Not every child experiences pain during a hospital stay, but if it does occur, we ensure it is controlled and treated in a timely and effective manner.

Any procedure has the potential to cause pain and discomfort. This can be something as simple as child patients requiring pain management strategies such as distraction when having investigations such as blood tests or putting in a cannula.

Procedures such as changing a dressing or removing drains may be uncomfortable but the nurses will be assessing pain before during and after the procedure to ensure your child has adequate pain relief. Any surgical intervention will require adequate pain relief.

What happens when your child comes to hospital

Patients who are admitted for surgery are assessed on admission by the ward nurses; a treatment plan is devised by the consultant anaesthetist to manage pain and discomfort following surgery to our paediatric site practitioners who have completed additional training in pain management are able to review the pain management plan with the patient and their family.

Children with uncontrolled pain or those who are having pain relieving infusions (i.e. epidural infusions and patient controlled analgesia pumps) following surgery are reviewed daily and a treatment plan is made with the patient and family. Clinical staff have an ongoing educational programme and training on the assessment, prevention and control of children’s pain.

Our team

At the Portland we offer a multidisciplinary approach to pain management. We believe that optimal pain management is the right of all patients and is the responsibility of all health professionals.

  • Consultant anaesthetists will advise on an appropriate pain management plan for each patient.

  • Paediatric site practitioners review patients on the wards each shift.

  • Resident medical officers can review patients at weekends and out of hours and call on the consultant anaesthetists if required.

  • Pain link nurses on each ward are also able to access pain management advice and further therapies from the pharmacists, physiotherapists, play specialists and music therapist.
  •  Our neuropsychologist may also be called on for input. Referrals can also be made to the hospital’s neuropsychologist to look at cognitive behavioural aspects of pain management.

Helping your child deal with pain

Because each patient’s experience of pain will be different – we provide an extensive range of pain relief treatments and therapies.

Nurses carry out ongoing pain assessments and from this can determine the type of pain relief to be given.  These include:

  • Local anaesthetic creams can be applied to numb the area where a needle may be used to have a blood test or put in a cannula.
  • Mild pain to moderate pain can be treated with pain relief medication given by mouth such as infant paracetamol or ibuprofen.
  • More severe pain can be treated with stronger pain relieving medications 
  • Consultant anaesthetists may perform local anaesthetic blocks in theatre which numb the areas which will be operated on. These will also provide pain relief following surgery and patients may be given pain medicines via infusion pumps, which will give pain medicine through the patient’s vein.
  • Other therapies such as physiotherapy, controlled breathing and relaxation, distraction and play can all help with pain management.
  • Families can also be active partners in the treatment plan and we encourage massage, cuddles and of course laughter.
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