Exploring reported distress before and pain during needle insertion into a venous access port in children with cancer
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background - Venous access port is commonly used during cancer treatment in children, yet little is known about how children experience such needle insertion procedures. Aim - To study distress before and pain after venous access port needle insertion among children and adolescents with cancer. A second aim was to explore associations between their self-report of procedure-related distress and pain with proxy reports by parents and nurses. Method - The sample included 43 children/adolescents, aged 1–16 years with cancer, treated at two Norwegian university hospitals. The patient, parent(s), and the nurse performing the procedure completed developmentally appropriate 11-point distress and pain scales before and immediately after the venous access port procedure. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and non-parametric correlations. Ethical issues - The ethical code of conduct was followed and conformed to the ethical guidelines adopted by the Regional Committee for Medicine and Health Research and the data protector officer at the hospitals. Results - For the youngest children (1–5 years), the median distress proxy score was 8 (range 0–9) and pain proxy score 4 (range 0–10). Median distress and pain scores for children aged 6–12 years were 3 (range 0–9) and 1 (range 0–10), respectively, and for the adolescents (age 13–16) 0 (range 0–6) and 1 (range 0–5), respectively. Patients’ self-reported distress and pain correlated highly with parents’ (distress: rho = 0.83, p < 0.001, pain: rho = 0.92, p < 0.001) and with nurses’ proxy ratings (distress: rho = 0.89, p < 0.001, pain: rho = 0.88, p < 0.001). Conclusion - There were individual age differences in experienced distress/pain associated with venous access port needle insertion, with a trend for younger children to experience higher levels of distress/ pain than the older children. Children's self-report of distress/ pain concurred with both parental and nurse proxy reports.