Background Sucrose has become standard practice across neonatal units for reducing procedural pain in preterm and term newborns. In infants admitted to PICU subject to similar procedures, systemic analgesics like morphine remains the preferred choice for procedural pain despite emerging links between these agents and adverse neurodevelopment outcomes.
Aim To explore the use of Sucrose and other non-pharmacologic methods for alleviating neonatal procedural pain in a PICU setting.
Methods Online survey sent to all medical and nursing staff in a regional PICU about use of sucrose and non-pharmacological methods for procedural pain relief in newborns.
Results There were a total of 28 respondents.
PICU staff are aware of Sucrose and non-pharmacological methods. However, they do not use these routinely for procedural pain, and 18% would never use a non-pharmacological method or sucrose.
18% staff members do not believe these methods to be effective in controlling pain in newborns.
The reasons for not using these measures routinely were that these are unfeasible in post-operative patients (50% respondents) and not required in patients already on morphine (7% respondents). 25% respondents said other staff members discouraged them if they wanted to use these measures. 43% respondents want Sucrose as a part of the guideline for pain management in babies.
Conclusions Despite awareness of sucrose and non-pharmacological adjuncts, these are not consistently used in PICU. Incorporating these methods as a part of evidence based guideline for management of procedural pain can reduce the need for systemic analgesia and reduce the adverse neurodevelopmental side effects.