Findings from Research at the PPHC Lab

Development and Preliminary Efficacy of a Pain Assessment and Management Training Workshop for Respite Workers Supporting Children with Intellectual Disabilities

by Lara Genik (PPHC), C. Meghan McMurtry (PPHC), and Lynn Breau (Glenrose Rehabilitation Centre, Edmonton, Alberta).

The objectives of this two-phase study were to (a) determine respite workers’ (RW) pain training needs/preferences and (b) develop and pilot a pain training program for RW who care for children with intellectual disabilities (ID). In phase one, participants were asked to describe their experiences with pain in children with ID, as well as their perceptions of their own pain-related training needs and preferences. RW had varying experiences with and opinions about pain in children with ID. They believed pain training would be beneficial, important, and interesting. RW had a number of preferences related to training content (e.g. learning about pain management strategies), and format (e.g. in-person, interactive). The information gathered from phase one along with research literature was then used to develop a half-day, multifaceted, interactive pain training for RW. Phase two examined this program’s initial efficacy through a small pilot study. Following completion of the program, pain-related knowledge, and RW self-report ratings of the feasibility of and their own confidence and skill in pain assessment/management increased. Participants’ evaluations of the pain training program were highly favourable. Future research should continue to evaluate the program’s effectiveness on a larger scale and determine its impact on actual care of children with an ID.

Click on the links below for a PDF of the results from each phase of the study.

Respite Care for Children with Intellectual Disabilities: Perceptions of Need for Pain Training and Preference:
Genik, L., McMurtry, C.M., & Breau, L. (2015).

Development and Preliminary Effectiveness of a Pain Assessment and Management Training Workshop for Respite Workers:
Genik, L., McMurtry, C.M., & Breau, L. (2015).

Assessment and Management of Pain in Children with Intellectual Disabilities who are Nonverbal: A Survey of Support Workers' Beliefs

by Lara Genik (PPHC), C. M. McMurtry (PPHC), and Lynn Breau (Glenrose Rehabilitation Centre, Edmonton, Alberta).

This study’s objective was to (a) explore and compare pain and disability-related beliefs of respite workers (RW) to a sample of individuals with little experience working with children with intellectual disabilities (ID), and (b) determine whether these beliefs and other factors impact these caregivers’ pain-related decisions. A number of findings are highlighted in the posters below, including: RW hold more positive disability-related beliefs than those inexperienced with children with ID; RW may hold some pain-related beliefs differ from findings in the literature (e.g., as children’s severity of ID increased, participants believed that a larger percentage of children were less able to sense pain), and; RW consider many factors in pain assessment (e.g., child behaviour, pain-related history) which may vary depending on pain source (e.g., headache, falling down, insulin injection). The findings highlight a number of future directions such as the development of pain-related education for RW to ensure that they are receiving accurate pain-related information, and further investigation of RW use of pain assessment and management-related strategies in the workplace. The ultimate goal of this research is to improve RW pain-related knowledge and care abilities, while also improving the quality of life of children with ID.

Click on the links below for a PDF of the various study results.

How Much Does It Hurt? Factors Contributing to Respite Providers’ Pain Intensity Ratings for Children with Intellectual Disabilities:
Genik, L., McMurtry, C.M., & Breau, L. (2015).

Respite Workers’ Opinions on Pain in Children with Cognitive Impairments: Sensation, Reaction, and Communication:
Genik, L., McMurtry, C.M., & Breau, L. (2014).

Caring for Children with Cognitive Impairments: The Impact of Pain Source on Caregivers’ Ratings of Pain Intensity, Need for Medical Attention, and Need for Other Attention:
Genik, L., McMurtry, C.M., & Breau, L. (2014).

Pain in Children with Cognitive Impairments: The Impact of Children’s Verbal Abilities on Pain Ratings and Perceived Need for Assistance by Caregivers:
Genik, McMurtry, & Breau (2014).

Assessment and Management of Pain in Children who have Cognitive Impairments and are Nonverbal: A Survey of Support Workers’ Beliefs:
Genik, L., McMurtry, C.M., & Breau, L. (2013).