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Neonatal pain assessment in Sweden – a fifteen-year follow up

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Abstract Background: 

It has been proposed that a systematic pain assessment increases the awareness of the need to treat and prevent pain, and most international and national neonatal pain guidelines state that pain assessment should be performed in a systematic way. National surveys show a wide variation in compliance to these guidelines. Methods: 

A survey to all Swedish neonatal units was performed in 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008, concerning the use of, and need for, pain assessment tools. Results: 

The number of units that tried to assess pain increased from 64% in 1993 to 83% in 2008. Forty-four per cent of these used a structured method in 2003, compared to three per cent in 1998. The most common pain indicator was facial actions. Conclusion: 

The proportion of neonatal units that reported the use of a structured pain assessment tool has increased significantly from 1993 to 2008. There is a need for better evidence for the relation between the implementation of pain guidelines and the actual performance of pain assessment.

Keywords: Neonatal; Pain; Pain assessment

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1:  Department of Paediatrics, Örebro University Hospital, Örebro, Sweden 2:  Centre for Health Care Sciences, Örebro University Hospital, Örebro, Sweden

Publication date: 2011-02-01

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