Unresolved Pain in Children: A Relational Ethics Perspective
Olmstead, Deborah L
Scott, Shannon D
Austin, Wendy J
Nursing ethics 2010 Nov; 17(6): 695-704
It is considered the right of children to have their pain managed effectively. Yet, despite extensive research findings, policy guidelines and practice standard recommendations for the optimal management of paediatric pain, clinical practices remain inadequate. Empirical evidence definitively shows that unrelieved pain in children has only harmful consequences, with no benefits. Contributing factors identified in this undermanaged pain include the significant role of nurses. Nursing attitudes and beliefs about children's pain experiences, the relationships nurses share with children who are suffering, and knowledge deficits in pain management practices are all shown to impact unresolved pain in children. In this article, a relational ethics perspective is used to explore the need for nurses to engage in authentic relationships with children who are experiencing pain, and to use evidence-based practices to manage that pain in order for this indefensible suffering of children to end.
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