An old man smiling while having a conversation with a woman who is shown from a backside angle

Pain is leading cause of behaviour change

Thursday 9 April, 2020

Candid image of an old woman smiling and having a conversation with a man outdoorsIn 2019 pain was documented as contributing to the behaviour of 66% of SBRT clients and 57% of DBMAS clients.

During face to face assessments, DSA teams have found pain to be a leading cause of changed behaviour for their clients. High rates of pain are documented in people living with dementia in residential aged care homes, with as many as 80% experiencing some type of chronic or acute pain. However, as a result of their dementia they are often unable to communicate their pain.

HammondCare’s Dementia Centre have developed tools and resources to assist aged care services to better identify pain and improve the quality of life of people living with dementia.

Completed in 2019, the ‘Intervene’ research program identified staff communication, limited collaboration between specialist teams and inconsistent use of available pain assessment tools as barriers to pain management in residential aged care services.

The project found there was a lack of knowledge in residential aged care organisations of the tools available to treat and assess pain. With previous research indicating that pain is often undertreated in people with dementia, staff training in pain identification was found to be an important factor in effective pain management.

The education booklet “Observe a Change Consider Pain- 5 steps to manage pain in people with dementia” was developed from a comprehensive knowledge base of what works in the residential aged care setting.

The five-step program includes:

  • Identify – How best to identify pain? What to look and listen for?
  • Assess- Know the person. Speak to the family. Use Abbey Pain Scale
  • Manage – What can I do? Ways to comfort. Has it worked or not?
  • Re-assess- Is pain still there? Repeat Abbey Pain Scale
  • Monitor- What is the future plan to prevent and provide care?

All resources and tools are freely available on the Dementia Centre's Intervene Website, and includes a three-part pain education video series, education booklet, pain management model and pain assessment tools.

Educational Booklet