Exploring the Needs of Parents with a Child with Chronic Pain: A Qualitative Secondary Analysis


  • Dominique Lefebvre
  • Anne Le
  • Jude Spiers
  • Shannon Scott


Background: Pediatric chronic pain affects 15-39% of children and their families, yet it remains under-recognized and undertreated by clinicians.  Despite increasing numbers of children diagnosed with chronic pain, few qualitative studies have explored the experiences and needs of these families. Methods: A secondary analysis of 13 semi-structured interviews was conducted using a qualitative descriptive approach. These interviews featured parents of children attending a large children’s hospital in a major urban city in western Canada. Data was analyzed in three phases: coding, categorizing, and developing themes. Results: Four distinct parental needs were identified: increased awareness about pediatric chronic pain, faster access to care, validation of their child’s pain, and healthcare supports throughout their journey. These themes interplayed throughout the data and shaped parents’ ability to access appropriate care and support for their child with chronic pain. Conclusion: Unique challenges prevent parents from accessing timely care for their child with chronic pain. Increasing awareness about pediatric chronic pain can help parents gain validation for their child’s pain and result in faster access to care. Our findings highlight how parents with a child with chronic pain would benefit from additional supports to help them navigate the healthcare system.