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Study Finds Racial Disparities in the Management of Pain Reduction for Minority Children

Racial and ethnic disparities have been found among children coming to the Emergency Department for pain management

WASHINGTON – Pain is one of the most common reasons for seeking emergency department (ED) care, yet is often poorly assessed and treated. In an effort to improve pain management among children, Monika Goyal, M.D., M.S.C.E., associate division chief of Emergency Medicine, director of Academic Affairs and Research at Children’s National Hospital, led a study published in Pediatrics on racial and ethnic disparities in the management of pain among children presenting to the emergency department ED with fractures.

The study found that there were differences in both process and outcomes measures by race and ethnicity in the ED management of pain among children with long-bone fractures. Although minority children are more likely to receive analgesics and achieve greater than a 2 point reduction in pain, they are less likely to receive opioids and optimal pain reduction.

“When looking at optimal pain reduction, minority children were more likely to be discharged home in significant pain compared to their white counterparts,” Dr. Goyal stated.

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