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Module 2: Relieving Pain and Other Symptoms

Pain Management in Children with Life-Threatening Conditions


 Facilitator's Guide Download PDF  PowerPoint Download PowerPoint

This 45-minute lecture provides an overview of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions to treat pain in children. The session begins with a discussion of the distinctions and relationships among the concepts of nociception, pain, and suffering. Then, using the World Health Organization's 3-Step Analgesic Ladder as a starting point, the remainder of the lecture addresses pain treatment methods including non-opioid analgesics, opioid medications, adjuvant medications and non-pharmacological interventions.

Participants will be able to:

  • Distinguish and describe how the terms "nociception," "pain," and "suffering" relate to one another.
  • Describe the physiological mechanisms and non-physiological factors that impact a child's perception of pain.
  • Identify the pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions available, their pros and cons, and the types of pain for which they are most useful.
  • Consider the nature and severity of pain, medication side effects, and the patient/family's goals of care to choose an effective pain intervention or combination of interventions to relieve a specific child's pain and associated suffering.
  • Recognize the need for frequent assessment of pain and adherence to titration guidelines to identify an effective dosage.

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