Research in Developmental Disabilities
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Respite workers (RW) commonly care for children with intellectual disabilities (ID), and pain is common for these children. Little is known about factors which inform RW pain assessment and management-related decisions. Objectives To describe/determine the following in response to a series of pain-related scenarios (e.g., headache, falling): (1) factors considered important by RW when assessing children with ID's pain; (2) whether children's verbal ability impacts pain assessment factors considered; (3) RW assessment and management approach. Participants Fifty-six RW (18–67 years, Mage = 33.37, 46 female). Procedure/measures In an online survey, participants read and responded to six vignettes manipulating child verbal ability (verbal, nonverbal) and pain source. Results The factors most frequently considered when assessing pain were child behavior (range: 20–57.4%), and history (e.g., pain, general; 3.7–38.9%). Factors did not vary by child's verbal ability. RW indicated varied assessment and management-related actions (range: 1–11) for each scenario. Discussion Findings suggest: a) factors informing pain assessment did not depend on whether or not the child was verbal and b) a degree of flexibility in RW response to pain across situations. While these findings are encouraging, ensuring RW have adequate pain assessment and management knowledge specific to children with ID is critical.