Ready to commit to comfort? Alberta Health Services is leading the way.

This story is part of a series led by Solutions for Kids in Pain (SKIP) about efforts being made across Canada and beyond to mobilize evidence-based solutions through coordination and collaboration. To learn more about 100+ groups working to improve children’s pain management, click here.

Did you know there are simple and accessible ways to reduce pain and distress during medical
procedures, immunizations, and blood collection? Alberta Children’s Hospital (ACH) at Alberta Health Services (AHS) is working to make their patients’ healthcare experiences as comfortable as possible.

In the fall of 2020, SKIP collaborated with Healthcare Excellence Canada (HEC) to identify and broaden awareness of virtual care innovations for children in pain, their families, and care partners. The call for innovations was a response to the increased use of virtual pediatric chronic pain prevention and management necessitated by the pandemic.

One of the eight innovations selected by the Call for Innovations Merit Review Panel was a
coordinated approach to increasing access to resources for Commitment to Comfort, an initiative to integrate pain management in a systematic way into patient care. ACH launched a webpage featuring principles, uses, and resources to help patients prepare for their visit, and to increase spread and scale of the initiative.

Laura Rayner, a Clinical Nurse Specialist at ACH, works within a multidisciplinary team to support children and teens experiencing pain, and she’s no stranger to SKIP.

“We have been working for some time with Dr. Katie Birnie and other members of the SKIP team
to expand our Commitment to Comfort Resources,” she says. “We’re always excited
to participate in calls with SKIP’s Western Canada Hub, where we collaborate and share ideas.”

The innovation aligned with one of SKIP’s main activities: facilitating institutional change. SKIP’s Hub Leads and Knowledge Brokers work together to advance children’s pain management in their own institutions and support other institutions in developing programs like Commitment to Comfort.

In order to improve immunization comfort and COVID-19 vaccine uptake, we collaborated with AHS stakeholders, SKIP, patient partners, and many others to further develop and expand Commitment to Comfort,” Laura says. “These include making a plan, and using numbing cream, distraction, comfort positions, and positive language.”

This partner-based approach to knowledge mobilization continues to support the implementation and expansion of the initiative.

“These resources are now linked to all Alberta immunization booking confirmation receipts, and translated into 10 languages,” Laura shares. “We’re proud to say that Commitment to Comfort is also integrated into policy and immunizer education province-wide.”

Are you interested in improving pain management in your own institution? Review the Commitment to Comfort webpage here!