When a dressing is being changed, your doctor or nurse should ask if it is painful.
They may simply ask you and may use a pain assessment tool. Click here to view an example.
For children, this normally takes the form of a series of faces that range from smiling to crying. Your child can indicate which face shows his or her pain.
What if the procedure becomes more painful?
If the procedure begins to cause pain, tell the person doing the dressing. Don’t be shy! They do not want you to be in pain. They may stop the dressing change for a while, or discuss other dressings which may help.
It is important that you feel in control of the dressing change in order to help minimise pain and anxiety. Ask for your dressing to be removed gently and, if you want to stop at any time during the procedure, ask for a ‘time-out’ break. Ask if you want to be able to remove the dressing yourself. Showering or soaking the dressing with saline or water may help before removal, ask your healthcare professional.
Distraction techniques can also be helpful – soft music, a warm environment, hand holding, guided imagery or even aromatherapy may all help to reduce the distress caused.
Discuss with your doctor or nurse, options for pain relief medication that you may be able to take before the dressing change starts.