Pain and agitation are common experiences of patients in pediatric cardiac intensive care units. Variability in assessments by health care providers, communication, and treatment of pain and agitation creates challenges in management of pain and sedation.


To develop guidelines for assessment and treatment of pain, agitation, and delirium in the pediatric cardiac intensive unit in an academic children’s hospital and to document the effects of implementation of the guidelines on the interprofessional team’s perception of care delivery and team function.


Before and after implementation of the guidelines, interprofessional team members were surveyed about the members’ perception of analgesia, sedation, and delirium management


Members of the interprofessional team felt more comfortable with pain and sedation management after implementation of the guidelines. Team members reported improvements in team communication on patients’ comfort. Members thought that important information was less likely to be lost during transfer of care. They also noted that the team carried out comfort management plans and used pharmacological and nonpharmacological therapies better after implementation of the guidelines than they did before implementation.


Guidelines for pain and sedation management were associated with perceived improvements in team function and patient care by members of the interprofessional team.

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