A PCA is a computerized pump that can be set to deliver a specific amount of medication when your child pushes a button. Children as young as 7 years old can use PCAs effectively. For younger children, parents or nurses can help push the button to relieve pain.
Safety settings limit how often the pump will deliver the medication, how much is given at a time, and how much can be given over a four-hour period. Several medications can be used this way. Only the patient is allowed to press the button; pressing the button while a patient is asleep is dangerous (no matter how old the patient is) and we prohibit it in a policy we strictly enforce.
In specific cases, we may allow a parent or nurse to use the button on behalf of the child. Because this carries extra risk, we reserve the right to limit who receives this treatment. We will discuss the options with you, and decide if your child is a candidate for this treatment. While we are named the Pain Service, our primary focus is safety, and all decisions are based on what is the safest way to care for your child.