Measurement of pain

How to measure pain in children- which pain assessment tools to use?

To successfully address the issue of postoperative pain it is paramount that pain is regularly measured with age-adequate pain assessment tools. The following Clinical Practice Guideline, entitled “The recognition and assessment of acute pain in children”, provides an excellent guide on the state-of-the-art regarding pain assessment in children. This guideline has kindly been made available by the Royal College of Nursing, the Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland, The British Pain Society and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

The ESPA would like to underline the importance of choosing age-adequate, well-documented and validated pain scales already from the start. The use of simplified home-made pain scales should be discouraged since the use of such assessment tools will make comparisons with other centres or published literature impossible and will also provide an obstacle when deciding on performing scientific studies. It is much better to implement the use of adequate pain scores already from scratch.

RCN pain assessment