GA Finley, PJ Mcgrath, CT Chambers (Eds)
Humana Press, 2006
This book is a treasure trove of information for health professionals who care for children who encounter pain ie. all health professionals who care for children.
Wherever possible the authors have incorporated evidence-based knowledge and where, as so often within paediatric specialities evidence is not available, they have addressed current thinking and practice. It encompasses topics related to pain in the community and in outpatient and inpatient settings, ranging from pain related to immunisation and ear infection to end of life care.
As in any such book, some chapters have greater depth than others and from the perspective of someone working exclusively with childhood pain management, some gaps or superficiality were evident. There is no doubt that the chapters related to supporting children and families where recurrent or chronic pain is an issue are comprehensive, offering information on in and out of hospital care and how to support children back to school. They should be compulsory reading for GPs and paediatricians, as the management of children with chronic pain syndromes is a rapidly developing area of practice.
Acute pain management covers the range of analgesic options, but provides limited exploration of managing some of the more complex scenarios such as cancer treatment related pain and burn pain management. Procedural pain management, a significant cause of childhood anxiety, again receives only lip service and yet is so important in building resilience in children who require repeated interventions.
The chapter relating to pain management at the end of life addresses many aspects requiring consideration and an overview of pain management options. For some incomprehensible reason, pain assessment is embedded in the chapter on end of life care. While there are some special considerations here, it should be central to all aspects of paediatric pain management.
Challenges confronting the development of pain management services in countries with less well developed health services, enable us to see how far we have come in first world countries. Coming ahead of the valuable discussion regarding the dilemma of translating current knowledge to practice, it is to be hoped that this will encourage first world health professionals to continue to raise the bar at home and consider ways of supporting pain management services for less fortunate children.
This is not a book of recipes for pain management, but makes much of the current thinking easily accessible to health professionals. There is no doubt that if the wisdom embedded in this book translated into practice, the management of childhood pain would be greatly enhanced.