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Pediatric CCRN Review Blog

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Pain and Sedation Assessment

The June 2019 Pediatric Care section of Critical Care Nurse features an article called Using Valid and Reliable Tools for Pain and Sedation Assessment in Pediatric Patients (Miller-Hoover, 2019), which discusses appropriate use of several different pain and sedation scales. Nurses must understand the scales used in their facilities and ensure that the proper scale is used for different scenarios to decrease the risk of adverse events, improve pain management, and meet regulatory standards. 

Uses of the scales discussed include sedation, procedural sedation, mechanical ventilation, and pain. Age and developmental level of the child assists the nurse in choosing an appropriate scale. Assessment of delirium is vital in differentiating pain in an agitated patient who is verbally responsive. New standards from The Joint Commission’s Standard Revisions Related to Pain Assessment and Management in January 2018 include monitoring safe opioid prescribing oversight, assessing high-risk patients, collaborating pain goals with patients, creating more access to prescription drug monitoring programs, and creating competency validation focusing on increased safety and quality improvement. 


Miller-Hoover, S.R. (2019). Using Valid and Reliable Tools for Pain and Sedation Assessment in Pediatric Patients. Critical Care Nurse, 39(3), 59-66.

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