Background Specific demands regarding pain management in Denmark require that Pain assessment must be conducted using evidence based standards. Until spring 2012 we did not have this in Denmark. A National Special Interest Group in Neonatal Nursing thus has developed a national clinical guideline on pain assessment for neonatal infants.
Methods This work has been carried out in collaboration with the national Clearing House for clinical guidelines to ensure methodological quality, and that recommendations reflect best evidence. A literature review was carried out and the validation of six pain score instruments was assessed. Clinical utility was also considered, as many NICUs in Denmark are inexperienced in pain assessment using a specific tool.
Results A national guideline on pain assessment for neonates recommending the use of COMFORTneo or alternatively PIIP is now being approved for use in Denmark.
The pain assessment tool will be implemented in many NICUs during summer 2012.
Conclusion The work with conducting a national guideline is very demanding and academic research skills are needed. Even though it is time-consuming it is essential to have evidence based standards in order to deliver nurse care of high standard. The National Special Interest Group in Neonatal Nursing has arranged a national conference for neonatal nurses about pain assessment, as well as training in and implementation of the pain assessment tool in daily clinical work.