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Pain management service


Pain management service—information for parents


The pain management service (PMS) is used for children with medium to strong pain. This type of pain often needs strong pain relief with medicine known as narcotics (such as morphine or pethidine).


Your child may need pain relief with narcotic medicine after an operation or injury, or with painful treatments, dressings, or movement. The PMS provides your child with a continuous supply (infusion) of narcotic medicine through an intravenous (IV) drip. This IV drip can be changed to make sure your child has enoughpain relief. Oral medicines may also be given.


The infusion goes through a special pump which is programmed to make sure it is safe. The dose is carefully worked out by medical staff for your child. It is checked often by nursing staff to make sure the pain relief is enough for your child.There are two different ways of giving IV drip pain relief (analgesia):

  1. Patient controlled analgesia (PCA)
  2. Nurse controlled analgesia (NCA).

Patient controlled analgesia (PCA)

The special infusion pump is programmed to allow your child to give their own pain relief. Your child is given a device with a button on it to hold in their hand (like a TV remote control). They can press the button when they have pain and a dose of pain relief medicine will be released into the IV drip by the pump.

The program in the pump is set for safety so that a dangerous dose will not be given if your child is upsetand presses the button too often. To use PCA your child must be old enough to understand the idea of pressing a button to take away their pain. Usually five year olds are the youngest. For the safety of the child, parents must not press the button for their child.

Nurse controlled analgesia (NCA)

Extra doses of narcotic medicine may be given for pain by the nurse if your child is:

  • too young for PCA
  • unable to press the button because of a disability
  • unable to understand the idea of pressing the button to take away their pain.

These doses will only be given by nursing staff when your child needs them.


While your child is needing pain relief from the pain management service, they will be closely watched by nursing staff and also frequently seen by anaesthetic medical staff. These staff members will regularly check your child’s need for pain relief.

When PMS is stopped?

As the amount of your child’s pain decreases, the amount of narcotic medicine will be decreased. At this time your child may also be started on oral pain medicine, for example tablets or liquids of panadol or codeine.

If you have any questions, please ask the medical or nursing staff at any time.

Contact Mater Children’s Private Brisbane

Salmon Building,

Raymond Terrace,

South Brisbane QLD 4101

Telephone: 07 3163 8111



Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-470031
Last modified 09/8/2017.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 11/8/2015
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