M. Bürger Lazar
Klinični oddelek za onkologijo in hematologijo, Pediatrična klinika, Univerzitetni klinični center Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenija
Pain is a subjective and complex experience modulated by various biological, psychological and social factors. A child’s perception of pain depends on his cognitive development and previous experiences of pain. Medical procedures, especially painful ones, are often stressful for the child. Early experiences of painful medical procedures in childhood play an important role in forming an individual’s response to pain both in childhood and adulthood. Recurrent negative experiences of painful medical procedures in childhood may have long-term negative psychological effects. Thus, in addition to pharmacological preparation of the child for medical procedures, it is important to use various psychological approaches and cognitive-behavioural techniques, which are helpful in reducing a child’s distress and pain perception. The choice of these must be based not only on the invasiveness and duration of the procedure itself, but on the child’s personal characteristics. This requires a great deal of flexibility in the choice of appropriate methods and resources as well as professionally highly trained and sensitive medical and nursing staff.
Key words: pain, child, psychological aspects of pain, cognitive-behavioural techniques.