Highlights

  • Patient comfort during peripheral intravenous (PIV) insertion and specimen collection was increased.

  • The authors extended the contingency plan implemented for PICC insertion to include PIV insertion and specimen collection.

  • The authors met their goals by using quality improvement methodology.

  • Prioritizing patient comfort often requires institutional culture change.

Abstract
Background:

Needle procedures can cause pain and distress, especially in pediatric patients.1  Retrospective data collected at a freestanding pediatric facility revealed that approximately 30% of pediatric patients were not demonstrating sufficient levels of comfort during peripheral intravenous (PIV) catheter insertion and specimen collection (lab draws) even after successful implementation of comfort measures by the vascular access team (VAT) in an adjacent procedure (i.e., peripherally inserted central catheter placement). The current quality improvement project was implemented to support adaptation and expansion of previous lessons learned to PIVs and lab draws specifically.

Design and Methods:

The VAT used the Pediatric Sedation State Scale,2  a standardized assessment tool integrated into the electronic medical record, to assess procedural comfort during PIVs and lab draws from February 2021 through April 2023. A total of 24,134 patients aged 0 to 18 years were included in the data collection. Interventions were delivered concurrently and included (1) reeducation/ongoing support for implementation of the Comfort Promise3  measures, (2) the creation and implementation of advanced comfort options, and (3) culture change.

Aims and Objectives:

The goal of the interventions was to improve the percentage of pediatric patients achieving adequate levels of comfort beginning at 68% in year 1 to 90% in year 2.

Results:

From February 2021 to April 2023, the VAT team was able to improve procedural comfort scores from 68% to 90% of pediatric patients with adequate comfort for lab draws and/or PIV insertions.

Conclusions:

While standard comfort measures are a good first step in pain management during needle procedures, they are not sufficient for every pediatric patient. Nitrous, sedation, and the use of anxiolytics and analgesics can play an important role in reducing pain and anxiety during needle procedures and should be considered for patients not achieving adequate levels of comfort with standard comfort measures.

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