Provincial and federal government personnel involved in health policy creation and others involved in setting standards and guidelines for health care delivery
Pain is very common in long-term care (LTC) settings. Despite the frequency of pain in older adults with dementia, pain is often underassessed and undertreated. Although the current policy in most Canadian jurisdictions requires conducting LTC pain assessments at minimum every 3 months, this is not sufficient. Often times, pain assessments rely heavily on subjective staff opinion rather than systematic observation of pain behaviours. Policies should be amended to increase pain assessment frequency (to at least once a week and more often when pain is suspected).
In fact, research has demonstrated that pain assessment frequency, using validated tools, can increase with minimal impact on existing LTC resources. Policy change is needed to improve pain care in LTC settings.
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.