Being in pain is no fun, but at least most of us can alert a loved one or doctor to our pain and let them know what hurts so the pain can be managed. Unfortunately, many children with complex medical issues are also non-verbal and cannot verbally tell anyone when they are in pain. This can be a distressing time for parents, as you never want your children to be in pain, but finding the source of pain can be difficult.
The following are some tips to help parents of non-verbal children assess and manage pain.
- Always search for potential causes of pain or discomfort. Children with complex medical issues are more susceptible to infection and injury, and often undergo regular medical tests and procedures, so your suspicion of pain should be high.
- Observe the child’s behavior. Children often give clues that they are experiencing discomfort via facial expressions, body activity and movement, crying, and posture. For example, a furrowed brow or agitated movements could indicate that the child is uncomfortable or in pain.
- Is the child sleeping too much or acting withdrawn? These can both be indications that the child is attempting to control pain by limiting movement and activity.
- Note if the child is combative when offered care. Oftentimes, a child with developmental impairments who is in pain may not understand that you are trying to help him or her; or the child knows, but cannot express, that movement is painful and he or she does not want to be moved.
While seeing your child in pain is distressing, understanding how to recognize and control pain is vital to his or her health and wellbeing. Work with your child’s doctor to gain a better understanding of how to recognize and manage pain, or contact the care experts at Genacta In-Home Care. Our professional caregivers are highly trained at caring for children with complex medical issues. Contact us to learn more about our in-home care services.