Helping to relieve pain for severely disabled children
Around one in every 20 children in the UK is registered as having a disability. Those who are severely disabled can be prone to chronic pain and yet cannot communicate how they are feeling. This means their pain can go unrecognised and untreated.
During the late 1990s Action Medical Research funding enabled researchers from the Royal College of Nursing Institute in Oxford and the Institute of Child Health in London to develop and test a tool to tackle this problem. Known as the Paediatric Pain Profile, the tool is a scale comprising 20 different behaviours which may indicate pain. It is used by parents and health professionals to assess and then relieve pain.
When developing the tool, researchers first collected information about the type of behaviour that children with severe disability exhibit when in pain. Studies to evaluate the accuracy of the scale were then carried out and results showed that the scale could be used to assess different levels of pain.