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Professionals’ Perceptions about the Need for Pain Management Interventions for Children with Cerebral Palsy in South African School Settings

Journal title
Pain management nursing : official journal of the American Society of Pain Management Nurses
Publication year
Nilsson, S.; Johnson, E.; Adolfsson, M.

Pain is common in children with cerebral palsy (CP) and may have negative consequences for children’s success in their studies. Research has shown that pain in childhood negatively influences individuals’ participation and quality of life in later years. This study investigated how professionals in South African school settings respond to children’s need for pain management in an attempt to enable the children to be active participants in school activities, despite their pain. The study was descriptive and followed a qualitative design (i.e., focus group interviews with semistructured questions and a conventional content analysis). Five government schools for children with special education needs in South Africa’s Gauteng province participated. Participants/Subjects: Thirty-eight professionals who represented eight professions. Professional statements on the topic were collected from five focus group sessions conducted during one week. Qualitative content analysis of the data was performed. Similar statements were combined, coded, and sorted into main categories and subcategories. The analysis identified three main categories for pain management: environmental, treatment, and support strategies. In addition, four groups of statements emerged on how contextual factors might affect pain in children with CP and their participation in school settings. It is important to train professionals in pain management and to implement structured models for pain prevention and management to ensure that best practices are adhered to for children with CP who suffer from acute or chronic pain.

Research abstracts