Introduction Infants in hospital experience pain regularly. It is an important nursing task to observe parameters of pain, because an infant is not able to express itself verbally. The question arises in which way and to what extent parents can play a role in recognising and diminishing pain experienced by their child.
Method Involvement of parents in pain management has been investigated by means of a literature search and a survey among nurses. We also explored how parents’ involvement could be increased in an effective way.
Results Research shows that parents’ ínvolvement in pain management is effective. When parents were given an active role, there was a quicker response to pain signals and the child experienced less pain.
Parents’ involvement is also feasible. A structured method of providing information increased knowledge of parents. In addition to oral information, demonstrations and videos were of extra value. However, in daily practice parents’ involvement in pain management is limited. Parents did not always receive oral (55%) or written (4%) information about pain management.
Nurses indicated more parents’ involvement than is experienced by parents themselves.
The survey showed that 96% of nurses believe that parents are actively involved in pain recognition and 85% thinks that parents play an active role in pain reduction. However, only 53% of the nurses think that parents are actually able to decrease pain.
Conclusion Parents’ participation in pain recognition and pain reduction is effective. Parents can be trained by means of structured methods of information, demonstrations and videos.