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Anna Taddio: Help eliminate pain in kids - HELPinKIDS

Anna Taddio, SickKids

Immunization is a global priority to prevent infectious diseases but vaccination, involving a needle puncture, is painful and this pain is a burden on children, their families and health-care professionals.

Dr. Anna Taddio, Pharmacist and Adjunct Scientist in Child Health Evaluative Sciences at SickKids and Associate Professor at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto, has been a pain researcher for over a decade.  But when she became a mother and saw her own children undergoing medical procedures and experiencing pain she learned  how little was being done to reduce pain in children

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“Health-care professionals weren’t doing what I knew they were supposed to do to prevent pain,” said Taddio. “They weren’t using the pain management tactics published in scientific journals. I realized that I needed to work on actually bringing the science of pain management into the real world.”

Taddio discovered that without education, pain was being accepted as a part of health care. But it didn’t have to be that way. Health care should take into account the child’s pain because through bad experiences, fears of needles and visits to the doctor occur.  Kids don’t usually remember what triggers these phobias, but their bodies do and their parents do and this can cause long term health care avoidance.

Taddio decided it was time to come up with a strategy to really share knowledge and information about pain management practices widely – to children and their parents, to the health care community and to the government and policy makers. She started the HELPinKIDS team, an inter-disciplinary team of clinicians, scientists, policy makers and educators. Their goal is to improve the use of analgesic, meaning pain-relieving, interventions during routine childhood vaccination.

Funded by: Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR), Mayday Fund and SickKids Foundation

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