REDUCING PAINFUL EXPERIENCES IN NEONATES DURING ROUTINE MINOR PROCEDURES IN SPECIAL CARE NURSERY: A QUALITY IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
Neonates in Special Care Nursery (SCN) are constantly exposed to routine procedures that are painful. Repetitive painful exposures in neonates are known to have long-term deleterious effects that may surpass adulthood. A quality improvement project was designed to reduce the pain experienced by neonates during routine minor procedures in SCN unit of Hospital Tuanku Fauziah (HTF), a tertiary state hospital in Perlis, Malaysia. The Neonatal Infant Pain Scale (NIPS) was used as a pain assessment tool in neonates throughout the study. Several factors contributing to neonatal painful experience during routine procedures were identified, including poor awareness on neonatal pain perception, poor procedural etiquette among paediatric house officers, and lack of non-pharmacological pain relief used during the procedures. Interventional measures included adjunctive use of non-nutritive sucking via orthodontic Avent® pacifier, use of adjustable swaddling blanket via SwaddleMe® size S, and introduction of a clinical training module for the house officers. There were 159 neonates recruited in the pre-intervention period and 163 neonates evaluated in the post-intervention period. Our study revealed a significant decrease in neonatal painful experience during routine procedures, from 49.7% to 17.8% (p<0.001), exceeding the standard set at 20%. This comprehensive strategy of multimodal interventional measures effectively reduced pain perception in neonates during routine minor procedures in SCN, fostering the development of a local procedural guideline to ensure continuous good healthcare services in neonates.