Over 85% of children experience significant pain after surgery. Despite this presence of pain, research suggests that a quarter of these children receive very little pain medication at home. Such poor pain management in children can have harmful long-term consequences. Previous research indicates that the amount of pain medication administered to children in the home may be significantly impacted by the attitudes parents have regarding analgesics. Given this, the purpose of the present study is to identify how demographic factors such as child sex and ethnicity predict certain parent analgesic attitudes and, in turn, the amount of pain medication their children actually consume at home. These variables were analyzed in pediatric patients ages 2-13 who have undergone elective surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (N = 112). Before surgery, parents completed surveys to report medication attitudes and demographics. Following surgery, parents completed surveys at home to report the names and amounts of analgesics their child consumed. Ethnicity was found to interact with child sex to predict parents’ fear of side effects, b = -4.750, p = 0.043. Specifically, among Hispanic households, parents of daughters expressed a greater fear of analgesic side effects compared to parents of sons. The opposite trend is seen in White households, such that parents of sons expressed a greater fear of side effects compared to parents of daughters. Moreover, parents of higher income households administered less pain medication to their children than parents of lower income households regardless of medication type (acetaminophen: b = -9.41x10-6, p = 0.011; ibuprofen: b = -1.32x10-5, p = 0.017). Given the immense variability in content, amount, and clarity of information currently provided to parents about managing pediatric postoperative pain, these findings can be utilized to develop interventions that specifically target and educate parents who are likely to have misconceptions regarding analgesic use while still respecting the family’s culture, values, and practices.
Luong, Vivian, "Pediatric Postoperative Pain Medication: Demographic Predictors and Parent Medication Attitudes" (2019). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 353.