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  • Writer's pictureSee Pain More Clearly Team

The PACSLAC Pain in Dementia Scales are Multilingual

Many studies have shown that the Pain Assessment Checklist for Seniors with Limited Ability to Communicate scales (PACSLAC and PACSLAC-II) are valid in evaluating pain in older adults with moderate to severe dementia. Research also suggests that regular use of these scales leads to improved pain care for patients and reduced stress for health care staff. The scales are easy to use and quick to administer. Please find relevant pain assessment guidelines and information, and learn about opportunities for online training on our website.

.When we started work on the development and validation of the PACSLAC scales, we had not thought that their use would go beyond the English-speaking world. As such, I remember how thrilled (and perhaps a little surprised) we were when our team received the first few requests from researchers and clinicians interested in translating and validating the PACSLAC scales in various languages so that they could be used around the world.

It is very rewarding to see our work make a difference outside the English-speaking world and it was a pleasure to meet some of the researchers responsible for these translations at the World Congress on Pain organized by the International Association for the Study of Pain. We have included links to some of these publications on the Japanese (PACSLAC), Dutch (a somewhat modified version of the PACSLAC), French (both PACSLAC and PACSLAC-II), Korean (PACSLAC), Persian (PACSLAC-II), Portoguese (PACSLAC) and Turkish (PACSLAC) versions on our website. These international studies have, generally, focused on establishing the reliability of the translated versions and in demonstrating that the translated scales can discriminate between painful and non-painful situations. Several other translations have been completed (e.g., Greek, Chinese, Swedish) but have yet to be published. If you are a researcher, interested in translating and validating the PACSLAC scales in a different language, do not hesitate to contact us.

- Thomas Hadjistavropoulos, Ph.D.

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. For more information and resources for Health Care Personnel, check out:

Dr. Hadjistavropoulos is an international leader in the area of pain assessment in dementia and has shown leadership in the promotion of the health sciences at the local, national and international level. He is the Research Chair in Aging and Health, Director of the Centre on Aging and Health and Professor of Psychology at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. He served as the 2007 President of the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA).


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