Objective: While the prevalence of burns in children is highest in low and middle-income countries, most research on burn-related pain intensity and distress is carried out in high-income countries. In this study we assessed pain intensity and distress in paediatric patients with burns undergoing wound care procedures without distraction and parental presence in a South-African children's hospital and sought to identify predictors for the outcomes. Methods: This observational study, carried out as part of a randomized controlled trial, took place at a burns unit in Cape Town, South Africa and included patients between the ages of 0 and 13 years undergoing their first or second wound care procedure. We measured pain intensity and distress using the COMFORT Behavioural scale (COMFORT-B) across four distinct phases of wound care procedures: removal of bandage; washing the wound; administering wound care; putting on new dressings. COMFORT-B scores ≥21 indicate severe pain intensity and distress. Results: 124 patients were included, median age 21.2 months (IQR 14.9-39.5 months), 90% suffered scalds, and median total body surface 8% (IQR 5-14%). Assessment scores for the majority of patients were indicative of severe pain intensity and distress during wound care procedures. Median COMFORT-B scores across the four phases were 24, 25, 25 and 22 respectively. Across the four phases respectively 76%; 89%; 81% and 62% of the patients were indicated with severe pain intensity and distress. Age was a predictor for pain intensity and distress as younger children were assigned higher scores than older children (Unstandardized B -.052; 95% CI -.071 to -.032 p. <. 0.001). Conclusions: In this study children received wound care procedures without distraction or parental presence and were assessed to have high pain intensity and distress. There is a correlation between age and COMFORT-B scores: younger children show higher distress, indicating a great need for better pain and distress control during wound care procedures. It is difficult to identify whether pain or distress is the specific primary cause for the high COMFORT-B scores.

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doi.org/10.1016/j.burns.2017.07.004, hdl.handle.net/1765/101360
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van der Heijden, M., de Jong, A. E. E., Rode, H., Martinez, R. (Roux), & van Dijk, M. (2018). Assessing and addressing the problem of pain and distress during wound care procedures in paediatric patients with burns. Burns, 44(1), 175–182. doi:10.1016/j.burns.2017.07.004