Acute Pain Service

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The Acute Pain Service is a dedicated team of physicians and nurses who specialize in managing pain in infants, children and young adults who are hospital inpatients.

Surgeons and pediatricians are able to care for pain in many patients. However, in some cases, more specialized pain treatment is needed. Most of patients we see have undergone surgery, but others have pain caused by illnesses such as cancer, sickle cell disease, arthritis or many other medical conditions. The goal of the Acute Pain Service is to reduce pain safely and manage side effects of pain medications.

We develop a personalized treatment plan for every patient we see, working closely with surgeons, pediatricians, nurses, child life specialists, psychologists and physical and occupational therapists to manage your child’s pain in the most effective way. Although it is not always possible to eliminate all pain, we manage pain so that patients can feel as comfortable as possible and sleep restfully at night.

If your child is hospitalized or will undergo an operation, ask your child’s care team if the Acute Pain Service might be helpful.

Our approach to alleviating pain

A member of the Acute Pain Service team will evaluate your child and discuss various pain treatment options with you and your child. There are several different options for pain control. The specific pain treatment plan will depend on a number of factors, such as your child’s medical condition and the nature of their pain, and may include:

  • patient- or nurse-controlled analgesia using opioids delivered intravenously (in the vein)
  • peripheral nerve blocks
  • epidural catheter
  • topical analgesia
  • complementary techniques such as acupuncture, reiki and massage

While your child is cared for by the Acute Pain Service, a member of our team will visit your child every day to make sure that pain is being managed to watch for side effects and answer any questions you or your child might have. Your child’s nurse can reach us 24 hours/day seven days per week.

Sometimes, children develop chronic pain that requires care from a specialized team. Boston Children's Hospital's Chronic Pain Clinic is a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, psychologists and physical therapists who are dedicated to caring for children, adolescents and young adults with chronic pain on an outpatient basis. You can discuss with your child’s doctor whether it is necessary for your child to be referred to the Chronic Pain Clinic after your child is discharged from the hospital.

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
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