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Health staff and relatives underestimate chronic pain experienced by nursing home residents
Date:9/17/2009

e team interviewed the residents without cognitive impairments they found that all of them reported pain in the last week, but that only 89 per cent of the caregivers and 67 per cent of the relatives were aware of that pain" says Dr Rhodee van Herk. "However, if they were aware that the patient had experienced pain, the nurses and relatives gave it a median score of six out of ten, with the same score reported by the patients."

Nurses and relatives were less unaware of pain levels when the patient was at rest. They gave their pain levels a median score of zero, compared with the patients, who gave it a median score of four out of ten. However relatives were more aware of pain issues than nurses, with their median scores ranging from zero to five, compared with nurses, who reported a median score of zero to two.

In general, there was more agreement between residents and relatives on pain levels than between relatives and nurses. The only exception was pain at rest in the impaired group, when relatives and nurses were in greater agreement.

Eight-three per cent of nurses and 65 per cent of relatives were certain about the level of pain the patient had experienced in the preceding week and 83 per cent of caregivers and 58 per cent of relatives were certain about pain at rest.

"Our study shows that nurses and relatives find it hard to accurately assess pain in nursing home residents, especially if the resident has a cognitive impairment, such as dementia, or is unable to speak" concludes Dr van Herk.

"Pain seemed to differ, not only on an individual basis but also in different daily situations. It is clear that pain at rest is a particular issue that needs addressing as residents rated this much higher than caregivers and relatives.

"Using a simple pain intensity scale, like the zero to ten scale employed in our study, is clearly not enough. We would like to see nurses use a combination of the existing pain intensity
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Contact: Annette Whibley
wizard.media@virgin.net
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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