Timeless pain management tips

All EMS providers can still learn something about patient care and pain management from their mother


Margaret, at the time, was 15-months old, when she stood up underneath the kitchen table. After smashing her head against the wood, she crumpled into a sobbing heap. Then she began her frantic search for mommy. Less than a minute later Margaret was consoled and resuming normal play.

When treating any patient in pain — child or adult — follow these timeless “mom pain” management and treatment principles:

  • Offer reassurance that you are working to relieve the patient’s pain
  • Use empathy to tell the patient that you understand they are in pain
  • Distract the patient with questions and conversation about when times were better and future opportunities
  • Apply gentle touch like a pat on the arm, a hand squeeze, or a hand on the shoulder
  • Look the patient in the eye as you listen to their complaint, using OPQRST, and explain your treatment plan
  • Tell the patient you are going to do something about their pain and then do it

I think all EMS providers can learn something about patient care from their mothers.

Moms, share with us other “mom pain” treatment principles in the comments area.

This article, originally published 5/6/2009, has been updated

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