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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 140-145

Pain assessment and management in neonatal intensive care units in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia: A survey of doctors and nurses

Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Faisal Othman Al-Qurashi
Al.Qurashi, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, P.O Box: 11286, Dammam 31453
Saudi Arabia
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DOI: 10.4103/sjmms.sjmms_7_19

PMID: 32587496

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Background: Despite its importance, no study from the Middle East has assessed the neonatal pain knowledge of health-care providers in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Objectives: To evaluate the knowledge and attitudes of pediatricians and nurses in Saudi Arabia toward procedural pain assessment and its management in neonates. Materials and Methods: This questionnaire-based, cross-sectional study was conducted between March and June 2015 at three NICUs in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, namely, King Fahd Hospital of the University, Al Khobar; Security Forces Hospital, Dammam; and King Fahd Medical Military Complex, Dhahran. All pediatricians/neonatologists and nurses in these units were included, and a previously validated questionnaire was distributed and collected by an assigned clinician. The questionnaire elicited pain-related knowledge of seven procedures using a 10-point Likert scale. Results: A total of 150 questionnaires were distributed, from which 107 complete responses were obtained (nurses: 81 [75.7%]; doctors: 26 [24.3%]). The overall knowledge scores were high (mean ± standard deviation = 77.3% ±11.6%). The mean pain rankings of doctors (7.2) were higher than those of nurses (6.5) for all procedures. Nurses reported more frequent use of analgesia than doctors (15.4% vs. 11.5%). Doctors often did not use comfort measures for any procedures, except during procedures on term to 28-day-old neonates. The use of pain tools was reported by only 12 (11%) clinicians. Conclusion: This study found that despite adequate knowledge about pain perception by neonates, the use of analgesia for procedural pain relief is low among doctors in the NICUs of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. In addition, there is underutilization of pain assessment tools, thereby indicating the need to address this knowledge–practice gap.

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