Next up let’s take a look at the way a patient’s race might figure in to the way you manage their pain. I’ve discussed this before with regard to adult patients in different minority groups receiving less effective pain management then white patients. It apparently also extends to pediatric pain management.

Uneven and Ineffective Pain Management a Problem

Crying kid, emotional sceneDr. Robert Fortuna from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York along with researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) conducted a study looking at racial disparities and painkiller prescribing for pediatric patients in a follow-up to his earlier study about adult patients. They found that the discrepancies in prescribing were very similar for pediatric patients of racial minorities when compared to white patients.

According to the article black children were 39% less likely than white children to receive pain management of any kind and 62% less likely to receive narcotic pain management. No one in this article is saying this is being done intentionally in any way, but there are discrepancies. We need to make ourselves aware of this so that we can counteract some of our unintentional cultural biases with regard to pain management.

Effective Patient Pain Management is Essential

Everyone deserves to have their pain managed aggressively and effectively. Dr. Tiffani Johnson from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who helped conduct the study, said that the stressful nature of ER patient management and the lack of a strong doctor-patient relationship may be contributing to this problem.

Whatever the case may be being culturally aware starts with understanding our own unintentional biases and working to overcome them when managing patient care. What are you going to do about this for your own patients’ pain management? I urge you to read this article for yourself and also follow up on the study in the journal article to make sure that you understand how this applies to your own practice and can take steps to improve the way you manage pain for all of your patients, regardless of race.


Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – New Synthetic Drugs of Abuse Nurses Need to Know About and Episode 265.


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