Children who suffer from chronic pain sought for study

The study will use storytelling to record children's experiences of pain to improve future patient-clinician communication

Girl drawing

Participants will work with a professional storyteller to help share their experiences

Children who suffer from chronic pain can take part in a new study that will use storytelling to record their experiences to improve future patient-clinician communication.

Researchers are looking for boys and girls aged between five and 11 years who suffer from chronic pain to participate in a new storytelling study.

The study will expand the limited knowledge in children’s experiences of chronic pain, adding insight into how they cope and deal with pain.

The aim of the study is to find out that if by listening to the children’s stories, health professionals can learn how to make better decisions when treating children in chronic pain. Researchers also hope to investigate the impact storytelling has on the children.

The power of storytelling

Mary Lockwood, a PhD student in Nursing at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “Chronic pain is a term used to describe pain which lasts for three months or more, and can be devastating to live with. It’s estimated that one in 10 children suffer from chronic pain at some point.

“We want to find out if listening to children’s stories helps to improve healthcare – the only way we can do that is by working with and listening to kids.

“This research is important because too often children suffering long-term health conditions feel excluded from decisions over their care. Storytelling empowers children to take control over the narrative of their pain, which has the potential to boost mental wellbeing.

“The research also has implications for healthcare services. We believe listening to children's stories may improve patient-clinician communication. Better communication leads to better clinical decision-making, which reduces the potential of causing trauma to children and their families. Anything that may help ease chronic pain in children is important and worth investigating.”

Participate

Parents and carers with the children participating in the study will be asked to attend a number of sessions with a professional storyteller who will work with them to tell their own stories and create a short film.

At the end of the project, the short films created will be shared with healthcare professionals.

Parents and carers of children aged 5-11 years old interested in taking part in the study can e-mail: mary.lockwood@stu.mmu.ac.uk 

For more information on the research and what it involves, visit: http://storiesinhealth.weebly.com/ 

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