Investigating a relationship between parental behaviours and occupational performance among children experiencing chronic pain.
Children experiencing chronic pain is a widespread issue, which is thought to affect 15-30% of children in Scotland. Chronic pain is defined as recurrent pain that occurs longer than the normal tissue healing time which is typically three months. Chronic pain can affect all aspects of a child’s life and that of their families lives. Chronic pain can affect a child’s physical and psychological health and can impact their school attendance, participation with sports and social activities. Currently, in Scotland, there are no multidisciplinary services available specialised to work with children who have chronic pain. Up until 2018 there were no official published guidelines with regards to the management of childhood pain. It is accredited that community, multidisciplinary self-management programs are the most successful form of intervention for children with chronic pain. Self-management as a method of intervention is increasingly becoming more utilised within the NHS in Scotland upon publication of the Scottish Government’s 2020 vision. This initiative emphasises prevention, early intervention and self-management of conditions within the community. Occupational therapists are ideally skilled and positioned to work in accordance to this transformational approach to healthcare and to enable children to self-manage their chronic pain within the community. However, as a result of this lack of progression of children’s chronic pain services, specialist chronic pain services remains patchy, which is having debilitating consequences for children experiencing chronic pain and their families. Parents exert strong influences on their child and play a central role in their experiences of pain. Previous studies have explored and investigated the influences of parental responses to their child’s pain and the responses these behaviours mediate. Upon review of the literature it was identified that functional disability may be as a result of parent’s solicitous responses to their child’s pain. From this critical review, it was noted that an enquiry into children’s occupational performance was overlooked as an outcome of these parental responses. Thus, it is proposed that a correlation study be carried out to investigate if there is a relationship between parental protective behaviour and encouragement with reduced occupational performance of a child experiencing chronic pain. Furthermore, do parents who are ready to change their responses towards their child’s pain elicit increased occupational performance of children experiencing chronic pain? This potential correlation may enhance future research and assist with the development of evidence-based pain management services for children with chronic pain in Scotland.