Caring for children with intellectual disabilities Part 2: Detailed analyses of factors involved in respite workers’ reported assessment and care decisions

Genik, Lara
McMurtry, Meghan
Breau, Lynn
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Respite workers (RW) commonly care for children with intellectual disabilities (ID), and pain is common for these children. Little is known about factors which inform RW pain assessment and management-related decisions. Objectives: To describe/determine the following in response to a series of pain-related scenarios (e.g., headache, falling): (1) factors considered important by RW when assessing children with ID’s pain; (2) whether children’s verbal ability impacts pain assessment factors considered; (3) RW assessment and management approach. Participants: Fifty-six RW (18-67 years, Mage = 33.37, 46 female). Procedure/Measures: In an online survey, participants read and responded to six vignettes manipulating child verbal ability (verbal, nonverbal) and pain source. Results: The factors most frequently considered when assessing pain were child behavior (range: 20-57.4%), and history (e.g., pain, general; 3.7-38.9%). Factors did not vary by child’s verbal ability. RW indicated varied assessment and management-related actions (range: 1-11) for each scenario. Discussion: Findings suggest: a) factors informing pain assessment did not depend on whether or not the child was verbal and b) a degree of flexibility in RW response to pain across situations. While these findings are encouraging, ensuring RW have adequate pain assessment and management knowledge specific to children with ID is critical.

children, intellectual disability, respite, pain management, pain assessment
Genik, L. McMurtry, M. Breau, L. 2017. Caring for Children with Intellectual Disabilities Part 2: Detailed Analyses of Factors Involved in Respite Workers’ Reported Assessment and Care Decisions. Research in Developmental Disabilities.