Effects of Pain-Reporting Education Program on Children's Pain Reports—Results From a Randomized Controlled Post-operative Pediatric Pain Trial

Dafna Zontag, Liat Honigman, Pora Kuperman, Roi Treister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Accurate assessment of patients' pain is an essential part of adequate analgesic treatment. Although reporting pain is a complex task, limited-to-no instructions are provided to pediatric patients regarding this process. Our goal in this randomized parallel-group clinical trial (Clinicaltrial.gov study protocol number NCT04306679) was to evaluate if a training program designed to improve children's ability to understand and use pain scales in a post-surgical setting would affect their pain scores. Methods: Eligible children (aged 8–17), hospitalized for elective surgery and their parents were randomized into two groups. Pre-surgery the intervention group underwent a multi-media program aimed to teach and train how to report pain. The control group received standard pre-surgical instructions. Post-surgery, the children reported their pain on 4 pain scales. The primary outcome was the concordance between children's pain intensity scores reported on four pain scales, both in terms of within-child standard deviation and absolute difference. Results: Ninety-six children met inclusion criteria and completed the study. The trained subjects' pain reports had significantly (p = 0.002) lower within-subject standard deviation (0.41 ± 0.31) than the control group (0.67 ± 0.46). In line, regarding absolute difference, the concordance of children's pain reports was twice better in the trained group (mean difference of 0.43 ± 0.40) than in the control group (0.88 ± 0.70) (p < 0.001). Discussion: Our results suggests that children's ability to report pain is a skill that can be improved. Future studies should test the potential clinical impacts of educational interventions aimed to improve pain assessment in children and adults.

Original languageEnglish
Article number672324
JournalFrontiers in Pediatrics
StatePublished - 9 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the children and parents who volunteered to participate in the study. Funding. The study was funded by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF, Grant Number 1437/18).

Funding Information:
The study was funded by the Israel Grant Number 1437/18).

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021 Zontag, Honigman, Kuperman and Treister.


  • pain
  • pain measurement
  • pain scale
  • pediatric
  • post-surgical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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