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Seasonal Variation in Pediatric Chronic Pain Clinic Phone Triage Call Volume. Pain Manag Nurs 2017 Oct;18(5):288-294



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85026532337 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   2 Citations


Chronic pain is highly prevalent in youth and often results in significant health care usage and familial distress. Telephone triage nurses in pediatric pain clinics provide support and consultation to families and engage parents of pediatric pain patients in interdisciplinary intervention efforts. Despite evidence of winter predominance in rates of pain-related and psychiatric complaints, seasonal variations have not been examined in terms of the demand placed on pain clinic triage nurses. The present study investigated seasonal patterns in the frequency and type of phone calls made over the course of 1 year to an interdisciplinary outpatient pediatric chronic pain clinic at a large Midwestern children's hospital. Pain complaints, reasons for phone calls, and call outcomes (e.g., medication changes, consultation with medical or mental health providers) were recorded in patient charts and retrospectively reviewed by the clinic registered nurse. A total of 721 calls regarding 253 patients were made over the course of 1 year. Results indicated that overall call volume across pain conditions was more than two times greater in the winter than in the summer (χ2 = 64.13, p < .001), and the odds of a call involving headache pain were almost twice as likely in the winter as in the summer. The majority of calls required consultation with physicians and/or mental health providers. Present data may be useful for pediatric chronic pain clinics making staffing decisions throughout the year because the winter season appears to place a significantly greater demand on triage nurses.

Author List

Jastrowski Mano KE, Gibler RC, Rusy LM, Ladwig RJ, Madormo CO, Hainsworth KR


Keri Hainsworth PhD Associate Professor in the Anesthesiology department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Lynn M. Rusy MD Professor in the Anesthesiology department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Chronic Pain
Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
Midwestern United States
Pain Management
Retrospective Studies