Pain Management Program

Helping Your Child Use Patient-controlled Analgesia

Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) is a way for your child to help manage his pain. PCA is given to your child through an IV (intravenous) pump. The pump contains pain medication that flows through a long clear tube that connects to your child’s IV line. The pump has a cord attached to it with a button on the end. Your child may press the PCA button to receive pain medication.

Can my child receive too much medication?

No, the pump will safely give your child only the amount of medicine prescribed by your child's doctor or nurse practitioner. Your child cannot receive too much medication even if he pushes the button many times in a row because the pump is set to only give a certain amount of medication every few minutes. Only your child may push the PCA button, although you may remind your child to push the button whenever she has pain. Our goal is to keep your child safe and as comfortable as possible.

When should my child press the PCA button?

Your child should press the PCA button on the pump:

Will the PCA pump take away all of my child’s pain?

No, but your child should feel comfortable. If you or your child feels the pain medicine is not working, talk to your child's nurse or doctor.

Is there anything more I can do for my child?

Yes. PCA is one way to help your child manage her pain, but there are also non-pharmacologic (without medications) ways such as arts, music, reading and video games to help your child cope with pain. If you have any questions, please ask a member of your healthcare team.

Contact us

For more information about the Pain Management Program at CHOP or to schedule an appointment, please call 215-590-1409.

Reviewed by: the Pain Managment Program team
Date: August 2012

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