Skip to main content

Volume 1 Supplement 1

Safety in Health

A hospital stay - the children's view


Regular pain assessment and documentation of side effect are important factors for successful pain management [1]. Therefore pain assessment is very common in hospitals. Other factors also important for patients and also influencing pain intensity are assessed seldomly. These factors, like perioperative anxiety [2] or sleep [3] may also influence pain perception.

Material and methods

In a prospective, exploratory pilot study structured interviews were conducted with 48 children and adolescents (mean age: 13.1, range: 11 - 17; female: 35%) to evaluate their view of the hospital stay. To identify potential areas for improvement the main focus of these interviews was to record patient's complaints. Therefore patients were encouraged to tell how they experienced their hospital stay, how they felt and to tell how they slept in the hospital. In order to get an unbiased view, patients were not asked specific questions regarding their wellbeing, sleep or other topics.


Forty out of 48 (83%) children and adolescents reported some kind of reduced well-being. The most frequent complaints were boredom (46%), followed by fear (40%) and nervousness (31%). A similar number of children and adolescents (85%) reported sleep related problems. The most frequent sleep related complaints were tiredness during the day (48%) and disturbance of sleep caused by pain (38%) or medical care (33%). While only 20 out of 48 (42%) children and adolescent reported nausea or vomiting additional eleven patients (23%) reported dizziness.


Beside the common aspects like PONV, other complaints like tiredness, sleep disturbance and fear are experienced in many patients. These aspects may affect pain perception and should be therefore evaluated. Furthermore, usage of age specific phrases like dizziness additional to nausea should be considered.


  1. Messerer B, Gutmann A, Weinberg A, Sandner-Kiesling A: Implementation of a standardized pain management in a pediatric surgery unit. Pediatr Surg Int. 2010, 26: 879-889.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Chieng YJS, Chan ACS, Klainin-Yobas P, He H-G: Perioperative anxiety and postoperative pain in children and adolescents undergoing elective surgical procedures: a quantitative systematic review. J Adv Nurs. 2014, 70: 243-255.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Lewin DS, Dahl RE: Importance of sleep in the management of pediatric pain. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1999, 20: 244-252.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alexander Avian.

Additional information

Competing interests

Supported by funds of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Anniversary Fund, project number: 14335) and the State of Styria (GZ: Abt.08-16.M-1/2012-39)

Rights and permissions

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Avian, A., Messerer, B., Diem, S. et al. A hospital stay - the children's view. Saf Health 1 (Suppl 1), A1 (2015).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: