Lara Šuštar Pennone
Razvojna ambulanta, Zdravstveni dom Ljubljana, Enota Bežigrad, PE Črnuče, Ljubljana, Slovenija
A child’s understanding of illness or injury and consequently his/her experience of emergency admissions changes according to his/her age and developmental stage. Knowing the specifics of different developmental stages helps us to adjust our communication, pain-relief approaches, and distraction techniques. Infants and toddlers up to 2 years of age are best helped by distraction techniques like caressing, singing, rocking, which take their focus away from the pain. Children between the ages of 2 and 6 – 7 years are known for quickly developing fantasies. Age-appropriate explanations about what is happening and what will happen prevent them from developing wrong or exaggerated perceptions. We can take advantage of their fantasy by using magical objects or properties, which help to relieve pain. Between 6 – 7 and 11 – 12 years, children need explanations of the procedures and plan and distraction techniques. We can allow them to help us wherever they can or keep them busy with different cognitive tasks. After 12 years of age, it is paramount to consider the adolescent’s need for privacy and his/her possible wish for his/her parents not to be present. Regardless of the age of the child, we must never lie about possible pain or discom-fort of planned procedures.
Key words: pain, pain management, communication, child