Assessing Pain in Persons with Advanced Dementia

By Sarah Moore, DNP, AGNP-C and Marianne McCarthy, PhD, RN, FAAN.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: July 5, 2017 $US5.00

Pain is prevalent among residents of long-term care facilities (LTCFs), but many facilities have failed to standardize pain assessment for individuals with advanced dementia. According to available literature, observational pain assessment tools are valid, reliable, and facilitate improved pain detection and management. The purpose of this project was to disseminate to nurse practitioners (NPs) working in LTCFs the current evidence about the efficacy of implementing a standardized pain assessment protocol for persons with advanced dementia. After obtaining both organizational and IRB approval, an educational program focusing on assessment and management of pain was implemented during scheduled monthly meetings with groups of NPs working for a large, managed care corporation. Pre- and post-program knowledge was evaluated using pen-and-paper format tests that assessed provider knowledge and the likelihood that NPs would disseminate to LTCF staff. Thirty-seven NPs participated in the program. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and the Wilcoxon signed-rank test. The findings demonstrated a 26.7 percent
(p = .000) increase in provider test scores following the educational session. The likelihood of using a tool and familiarity with the PAINAD tool were both significantly increased following the session (p = .001 and p = .000 respectively). Furthermore, 95 percent of participants acknowledged willingness to disseminate. Based on the literature, the success of this project implies the potential to improve pain management and quality of life, leading to decreased adverse events and costs. Future evaluation will be needed to evaluate whether or not the information was disseminated and ultimately used by LTCF staff.

Keywords: Chronic Disease, Cognition, Medical Perspectives

The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp.25-35. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: July 5, 2017 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 658.435KB)).

Dr. Sarah Moore, DNP, AGNP-C

DNP Graduate, College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University, Avondale, Arizona, USA

Marianne McCarthy, PhD, RN, FAAN

Associate Professor, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA