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Papers of the Week

Papers: 3 Jun 2023 - 9 Jun 2023

Pediatric, Psychology, Translational

Human Studies

Musculoskeletal Pain, Psychological/Comorbidities

2023 Jun

Paediatr Neonatal Pain




“You just want someone to help”: Outcomes that matter to parents when their child is treated for chronic pain.


Joslin R, Donovan-Hall M, Roberts L


In children’s chronic pain services, healthcare decisions involve a three-way interaction between the child, their parent or guardian, and the health professional. Parents have unique needs, and it is unknown how they visualize their child’s recovery and which outcomes they perceive to be an indication of their child’s progress. This qualitative study explored the outcomes parents considered important, when their child was undergoing treatment for chronic pain. A purposive sample of twenty-one parents of children receiving treatment for chronic musculoskeletal pain, completed a one-off semi-structured interview that involved drawing a timeline of their child’s treatment. The interview and timeline content were analyzed using thematic analysis. Four themes are evident at different points of the child’s treatment course. The “perfect storm” that described their child’s pain starting, “fighting in the dark” was a stage when parents focused on finding a service or health professional that could solve their child’s pain. The third stage, “drawing a line under it,” changed the outcomes parents considered important, parents changed how they approached their child’s pain and worked alongside professionals, focusing on their child’s happiness and engagement with life. They watched their child make positive change and moved toward the final theme “free.” The outcomes parents considered important changed over their child’s treatment course. The shift described by parents during treatment appeared pivotal to the recovery of young people, demonstrating the importance of the role of parents within chronic pain treatment.