CRIES Pain Scale

Make use of the CRIES Pain Scale in order to determine if a postoperative newborn child is in pain. The results should help you determine what to do in order to assuage their pain.

Jamie Frew
Jamie Frew
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What is the CRIES Pain Scale?

The Crying Requires oxygen Increased vital signs Expression Sleep Pain Scale (CRIES Pain Scale for short) is a valuable tool doctors use to assess the pain level a postoperative newborn child may feel. These scales are also used on infants that had to undergo operations.

Given that newborns and infants are unable to express themselves through speech, they typically show that they are in pain and experiencing discomfort through their facial expressions and crying. The will be used to put a number on the level of pain that the child is feeling by looking at how they cry, what their facial expressions are like, what their vital signs are like, and if they can sleep.

Printable CRIES Pain Scale

Download this CRIES Pain Scale and assess the pain levels of a newborn baby.

How to use the CRIES Pain Scale:

You just need to assess the pain based on certain parameters.

The CRIES Pain Scale isn’t complicated to use. You simply just need to pick the proper designations based on the following:

  1. Are they crying?
  • Not crying = 0 points
  • Crying but not high-pitched = 0 points
  • High-pitched crying but the infant is consolable = 1 point
  • The infant is inconsolable = 2 points
  1. Do they require oxygen to keep oxygen saturation?
  • No = 0 points
  • <= 30% supplemental oxygen required to keep oxygen saturation > 95% = 1 point
  • > 30% supplemental oxygen required to keep oxygen saturation > 95% = 2 points
  1. Is there an increase in their vital signs?
  • Their heart rate and mean blood pressure less than or equal to preoperative values = 0 points
  • Their heart rate OR mean blood pressure increased but <= 20% from preoperative levels = 1 point
  • Their heart rate OR mean blood pressure increased > 20% from preoperative levels = 2 points
  1. What is their expression?
  • None = 0 points
  • Grimace = 1 point
  • Grimace with grunting = 2 points
  1. Are they able to sleep?
  • Yes = 0 points
  • Wakes at frequent intervals = 1 point
  • Constantly awake = 2 points

Tally the scores.

Next, you need to calculate the total score. The minimum score is 0. The maximum score is 10.

The higher the score is, the more likely it is that the infant is experiencing a greater subjective expression of pain.

Come up with the care plan.

The last thing you need to do is develop an appropriate care plan for the infant based on their total score on the CRIES Pain Scale.

If the total score is above 3, you should monitor the neonate now and then using the CRIES Pain Scale. If they score above 6, you still need to watch them, but you must also administer analgesics to help ease the pain.

CRIES Pain Scale Example (Sample)

Here is a filled-out CRIES Pain Scale sample to give you an idea of what the pain scale normally looks like, especially when it’s fully accomplished. If you specialize in the care of newborn children and infants, then you should add this pain scale to your roster of clinical documents.

Download this CRIES Pain Scale Example (Sample) here:

CRIES Pain Scale Example (Sample)

When is it best to use the CRIES Pain Scale?

Since this is primarily for postoperative neonates, it’s best to use this as soon as they start to express discomfort through crying or through their facial expressions so that they can be treated accordingly and immediately.

While this is meant for newborns, it can also be used for infants undergoing operational procedures. You can assess the level of pain they are feeling after an operation and determine the kind of care to give the infants in order to relieve them of their pain.

Who can use the CRIES Pain Scale?

The following healthcare practitioners can use the CRIES Pain Scale for their practice:

Any practitioner that specializes in providing care for newborns and infants can benefit from using this scale.

Why use Carepatron for neonatal-related software and documents?

If your practice focuses on caring for neonates and infants, and you are looking for software and clinical documents for your work, look no further than Carepatron!

We have a wide range of worksheets, assessments, general care plan templates, and a lot more that you’ll find beneficial for your specialization, like this CRIES Pain Scale.

You can either download an editable digital version or print it out! This pain scale should help streamline how you and your team assess newborn babies.

By using our platform, not only will you have access to software and documents that you may need, but you’ll also have access to a storage system where you can safely store your clinical documentation in a HIPAA-compliant manner! This includes fully-accomplished CRIES Pain Scales!

Storing them on our platform also makes your documents easily accessible, meaning you can access your documents via your desktop, laptop, or even a phone!

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Is this pain scale reliable?
Is this pain scale reliable?

Commonly asked questions

Is this pain scale reliable?

Yes. It gives practitioners a semblance of objectivity by assigning specific scores for specific parameters. This will give them something to work with because their pain management care plans will be shaped by the specific parameters they ticked and the overall pain score they got as a result of adding up the scores. It’s also widely used in neonatal care.

How many times do I have to use this pain scale?

That depends on the newborn and the CRIES Pain Scale results. If they score above 3, you might want to use this several times to monitor the neonate properly. If they score above 6, not only do you need to keep monitoring the child, but you must also use analgesics to help relieve their pain.

Given that you have to look at the neonate based on five parameters, how long does it take to accomplish the CRIES Pain Scale?

Normally, it takes only 1 to 2 minutes to finish. The parameters can be scored based on observation. The only part of the scale that may take some time is checking their vital signs. As long as you have the equipment to check their vital signs ready, you should be able to finish in 2 minutes.

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