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Arch Hellen Med, 39(2), March-April 2022, 276-281


Painful procedures in hospitalized children and the parental role

D. Koumpagioti,1 E. Vlachioti,2 V. Matziou3
1Hemodialysis Unit, "P.&A. Kyriakou" Children's Hospital, Athens,
2Nursing Services Directorate, "Aghia Sophia" Children's Hospital, Athens,
3Laboratory of Pediatric Nursing Application, Faculty of Nursing, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

For children, hospitalization and the exposure to painful procedures constitute a distressing experience for both the children themselves and their parents. Parental presence during painful procedures is a fundamental principle of patient- and family-centered care, with multiple benefits for both children and parents. The benefits to the children include reduction in the levels of pain, anxiety and fear, which increases their safety and improves collaboration between the children and the health care professionals. On the part of the parents, their presence can lead to reduction in their anxiety and fear, active participation in care delivery, and understanding of the patient's situation, with the creation of a trusting relationship with the health care staff and the opportunity to provide comfort, protection and support to their children. The perceptions of the health care providers are determined by a variety of factors, including the level of procedural invasiveness, the age of the child, the parental attitude while receiving the initial explanation of the procedure, the previous parental exposure to a similar experience, the child's previous experience and level of cooperation, the difficulty of the procedure and the certainty of the outcome. The findings of relevant studies illustrate the wish of parents to be present during painful procedures, demonstrating their supportive role. Achieving an effective parental presence during painful procedures in clinical practice presupposes the establishment of written policies and evidence-based protocols, the appropriate education of the health care professionals, explanation of the procedure to both the child and the parents, provision to a parent of the option to be present or not, and continued assessment of parental presence.

Key words: Care, Children, Hospitalization, Parents, Presence.

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