The IMPACT Project aimed to improve how pain management information is communicated to families with children in postoperative care.
Why is this research important?
Poor pain management after pediatric surgery remains a critical concern despite efforts in providing care information at hospital discharge. A recent audit of daycare surgical procedures at BCCH highlighted that children experience a significant amount of preventable pain at home in the days following surgery.
What did we do?
The team audio-recorded conversations between parents and nurses at discharge as well as interviewed parents about their hospital experience when they returned home. From this, we were able to identify areas of improvement for communication in pain management.
What did we find?
Overall, the nurses did very well with their pain instructions — they spoke understandably, asked questions, and provided reassurance. But it was clear that some parents still experienced confusion around specific instructions to manage their child’s pain.
Turning research into action
A pain management handout was developed for families that would be filled out by the surgeon and checked by the nurse during discharge communications. After several versions of the pamphlet design, with input from stakeholders and patient family partners, now it’s a key part of the care kids and families receive in the day surgery unit. The pamphlet includes a detailed written medication schedule for the first 24 hours, plus information on pain management.