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Publication Date



DOI: 10.1016/j.jpain.2023.07.010


Interprofessional communication about inflammatory and non-inflammatory musculoskeletal conditions is an important component of assessment and management in paediatric rheumatology. Chronic pain is a feature of some of these conditions which likely influences the extent and type of communication about pain. Research investigating interprofessional communication about paediatric pain is limited but has found that communication is inclusive of the biopsychosocial context of children/adolescents as well as their families. The aim of this ethnographic study was to explore interprofessional communication about children and adolescents with chronic musculoskeletal pain in paediatric rheumatology. We observed forty-five healthcare professionals recruited from 3 UK paediatric rheumatology teams during thirty multi-disciplinary team meetings. Contemporaneous field notes created during observations were analysed using grounded theory procedures. Core processes identified in interprofessional communication involved describing, making sense of, and managing children/adolescents with pain and their families. Topic areas discussed within these core processes included healthcare professional perceptions about children's and parents' personality characteristics, as well as healthcare professionals' familiarity with families. Underlying diagnoses and possible attributions of pain aetiology were also discussed. Interprofessional narratives included consideration of the potential anxieties and uncertainties about pain within families. Healthcare professionals communicated about strategies for managing expectations about pain. These findings characterise the nuances in interprofessional communication about pain and can be used to inform future work aimed at understanding and optimising the impact of interprofessional communication on clinical decisions and pain outcomes. PERSPECTIVE: This study characterises the processes (series of actions), the function (purpose) and the content (topic areas) of interprofessional communication about paediatric pain in rheumatology settings. These findings should be used to inform interventions targeting both the appropriateness and effectiveness of this communication.

Journal Title

The journal of pain : official journal of the American Pain Society





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Last Page


MeSH Keywords

Humans; Child; Adolescent; Rheumatology; Chronic Pain; Musculoskeletal Pain; Qualitative Research; Communication


Chronic pain; Ethnography; Healthcare professionals; Interprofessional communication; Paediatric rheumatology


This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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