Student voice

Parents are the real professionals when it comes to their children

Good communication is vital in assessing paediatric early warning systems

Good communication is vital in assessing paediatric early warning systems

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Preventable pain and trauma in children with complex needs is something I have heard about too often. It often occurs when paediatric early warning systems (PEWS) and pain assessment tools cannot accommodate the needs of these patients.

I have also heard parents say words to the effect: ‘I knew something was wrong, but no one paid attention to what I know about my child.’

What is being said here is that parents had an understanding that staff were not necessarily ignoring them, but the scores and numbers were.

When assessing PEWS and pain scores for a child or young person with complex needs it is important to understand that their vital signs may be out of the normal guidelines for their age.

Nurses need to ensure they receive thorough patient histories, including the 12 activities of daily living, from the parents.

Including parents

Communication may also be a significant barrier when trying to establish the pain levels of children with complex needs.

The value of parents’ input and expertise with their children should not be overlooked, and it is important that parents are included in assessments and care.

When communicating any concerns to the multidisciplinary team it is important to remember to act as a strong advocate for the patient and their family, and to ensure that relevant and timely review or investigations are carried out.

Above all, it is vital to document and hand over everything relevant about the patient. This will ensure that continuity of care is consistently maintained, for the patient and their family, and that they have complete trust in the team looking after them.

We all have a duty to improve care standards and outcomes for all our patients and their families.

Let’s promote a more in-depth family-centred approach to ensure that preventable situations don’t arise.

About the author

Christoper_SteeleChris Steele is a third-year children’s nursing student at Edge University, Ormskirk

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