Background: Venipuncture and intravenous (IV) cannula insertions are the two common sources of pain in hospitalized children and health care today. The WHO asserts that, pain relief is a basic fundamental right and requires a multidisciplinary approach. Nonpharmacological comforting strategies when implemented are important to relive pain related distress in children during peripheral IV line insertion. However, evidence to date that suggests implementation of such strategies and their barriers in Uganda remains very limited. This study aimed at establishing the current practices in regard to the use of comforting strategies and the perceived barriers faced by health care providers to implement pediatric pain management during IV line insertion procedure in Uganda's national referral hospital, Mulago. Method: A cross sectional and descriptive study was conducted between December 1, 2012 and February 28, 2013 involving doctors, nurses and interns in six pediatric wards of Mulago Hospital in Uganda. A pre-tested self- administered and semi- structured questionnaire was used to collect the data. Data was entered into SPSS and descriptive statistics run on all the variables. Results: Of the 120 questionnaires distributed, 105 (RR = 87.5 %) were returned and completed. The evidence based comforting strategies used for pain management during IV line insertion by the majority of health care professionals were; skin to skin (51 %) and appropriate upright positioning of the child on mother's lap (69 %). The least used comforting strategies were; allowing the child to suck his thumb or hand (70 %), use of distraction (69 %) and directing the child to suck one of his fingers into his mouth (90 %). The identified barriers to implementing comforting strategies were; lack of time (42 %), having emergency situations (18 %), and not knowing the right method to use (11 %). Of 105, 100 (95 %) reported that there is need for continuous professional development on comforting strategies. Conclusions: Findings demonstrated that fewer health care providers used some evidence based comforting strategies of pain relief during pediatric peripheral IV line insertion. Distraction and other evidence based strategies for pain and distress relieve are less often used by the majority of the health care providers. Incorporating pediatric pain management content in all health professionals training curricula could improve the current practices for better health outcomes.
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