New Website Helps Parents Help Children with Postoperative Pain

March 2013Diana Austin

A new website, My Child Is in Pain, developed by UCSF School of Nursing’s Linda Franck in collaboration with several UK-based organizations and funded by the UK nonprofit WellChild, aims to give parents and other caregivers the tools to help children cope with postoperative pain.

Linda Franck (photo by Elisabeth Fall) Franck, who is chair of the Department of Family Health Care Nursing, has spent her career researching pain assessment and management, and her work has shown that more than 90 percent of children have pain two days after surgery and up to 25 percent continue to have pain four weeks later.

“Parents are not getting enough information or feeling comfortable using the information that’s out there to manage pain at home,” she says. “It became clear we needed to put together another resource using the best research evidence available and lots of parent input so that it was practical and useful for parents.”

To create the site, Franck worked with Bernie Carter, professor of Children’s Nursing at the School of Health at the University of Central Lancashire and director of the Children’s Nursing Research Unit (CNRU) at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust; Lucy Bray, a senior clinical research fellow from Edge Hill University; and Nic Blackwell, CEO of OCB Media. The site uses video, text and illustrations to help parents understand and assess their children’s pain. It also provides practical guidance on using both medication and nonpharmaceutical methods – such as cuddling, rocking and distraction – to help alleviate pain.

“When a child’s pain is well managed, he or she usually recovers more quickly,” Franck says. “When a child is relaxed and calm, it can help the pain go away.”