July 16, 2024

Innovative App Receives Positive Feedback from Parents and Clinicians for Managing Pediatric Cancer Pain

A study conducted by Assistant Professor Lindsay Jibb from the Lawrence Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and Scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) has unveiled encouraging results regarding a novel app aimed at aiding parents in managing cancer pain in their young children at home. The research, featured in the publication PLOS Digital Health, indicates that both parents of pediatric cancer patients and clinicians view the pain management app favorably, finding it beneficial, safe, and empowering.

According to Jibb, the responsibility of caring for and alleviating pain in these children typically falls on parents when they are at home, as kids may frequently endure severe cancer pain. The primary objective of the mobile app developed by Jibb’s team is to alleviate this burden and enhance the pain management experience for both parents and children.

In a qualitative analysis, participants were also asked to provide input on the digital app. Many recommendations focused on enhancing accessibility, user-friendliness, multilingual availability, and the incorporation of gamification elements to engage children in their own care where suitable.

At its current pilot stage, the app features a repository of pharmacological guidance and advice on managing psychological and physical symptoms children may encounter. Moreover, the algorithm-driven instructions guide parents on assisting their child in responding to different types of pain through techniques like belly breathing, stretching, or mindfulness exercises, tailored based on the child’s age and developmental stage. Additionally, a chat function is being integrated into the app to cater to the necessity for real-time support, allowing parents to connect with hospital nurses for nurse-led clinical pain assistance when required.

Jibb stresses the underutilization of digital and mobile apps in healthcare despite their potential benefits, particularly as advancements like artificial intelligence continue to enhance connectivity for remote care and support.

However, participants highlighted potential challenges, including the app’s capability to assess pain thresholds and determine instances when medical intervention is necessary. Jibb notes the importance of incorporating multidimensional pain assessments, multi-modal pain management support, and pain tracking features in the app to address the subjective nature of pain, especially in children.

By adopting a holistic biopsychosocial strategy to cancer pain management, the app aims to tailor pain management solutions to the unique needs of patients and their families, thereby enhancing the pain management experience and overall well-being of pediatric cancer patients.

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1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it