health care personnel
Health Care Personnel
Health care providers or professionals, Professional caregivers, and healthcare administrators
Pain is very common among people with dementia. Many residents with dementia in long-term care facilities (LTC) suffer from pain. Unfortunately, pain is often under-treated and under-assessed in this population. This is influenced by many factors including the limited ability to communicate pain among those with moderate to severe dementia. Other obstacles include resource limitations in LTC facilities. Pain in dementia can also sometimes cause challenging behaviours, such as, agitation or acting out. Healthcare staff may misattribute these behaviours to psychiatric problems and treat them with psychiatric rather than pain medications. Psychiatric medications may increase the risk of earlier death among these patients. Increasing awareness about pain in dementia and improving training on assessing and accurately identifying non-verbal behaviours using validated pain checklists among LTC staff are needed. Continuing education opportunities are available on our website (https://www.seepainmoreclearly.org/resources).
Despite these challenges, simple methods for assessing and managing pain more regularly can work with existing resources in LTC facilities. For example, regular use of observational pain assessment tools by health professionals have been shown to improve pain conditions and staff stress and burn out. Resources for healthcare professionals are available through our website.
We thank the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research (SPCOR), Canadian Association on Gerontology, the Chronic Pain Network, the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, AGE-WELL NCE and all other organizations and people who are helping us increase awareness of the problem of pain in dementia.