Dragon's Den: Neonatal Pain Research Proposal

Presenter: Professor Denise Harrison
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Summary: Newborn infants require painful blood tests via heel lance in the few 2 days of life, and sick and preterm newborns cared for in NICUs and SCN require repeated blood tests during their hospitalisation. High quality evidence supports analgesic effects of parent-led pain management strategies of breastfeeding, if feasible and culturally acceptable, holding newborns skin-skin (SSC) against the parents’ chest, and small volumes of oral sweet solutions (sucrose or glucose) during heel lancing. Free publicly available parent-targeted videos show these strategies in use during heel lance (Breastfeeding and SSC) and venipuncture (sucrose). However national and international data shows these strategies are inconsistently used. Barriers to facilitating parents to being involved include nurses’ and midwives’ lack knowledge of how to position themselves while performing heel lancing when newborns are being held by parents. Our team therefore co-produced a clinician-targeted ‘ergonomics’ video showing best positioning of the clinician while parents were breastfeeding or holding their newborn SSC. Evidence from midwives and neonatal nurses in Australia (N=729) show this clinician-targeted ergonomics video is persuasive, useful, and likely to improve pain management practices. We now need to evaluate effectiveness of this video, and the parent-targeted newborn pain video, when implemented into diverse postnatal and NICU settings, in increasing parents’ involvement during their newborns’ routine blood collection procedures.
Presenter Bio: Denise Harrison is a Professor of Nursing at the University of Melbourne. She is the lead of the Be Sweet to Babies team, focused on pain management for neonates, infants and young children in partnership with parents, clinicians, interdisciplinary researchers and trainees and healthcare organisations. She is working on her next research plans – to test the effectiveness of a video demonstrating correct ergonomic positioning for nurses and midwives when performing newborn screening while babies are being breastfed and held skin-skin ergonomics newborn pain video (CLICK HERE) on use of breastfeeding, skin-skin or sucrose during heel lances.

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