Article

Pain assessment in the cognitively impaired and unimpaired elderly.

University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Nursing, 985330 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198-5330, USA.
Pain Management Nursing (Impact Factor: 1.79). 12/2000; 1(4):106-15. DOI: 10.1053/jpmn.2000.19332
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to determine the self-report pain rating scale(s) that can be used to quantify pain in elderly persons across cognitive functioning levels. Randomly selected elderly subjects (N = 100) completed the Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire to categorize their level of cognitive impairment: intact (n = 36), mild (n = 9), moderate (n = 15), and severe (n = 40). Pain was measured with the Memorial Pain Assessment Card verbal subscale, FACES, COOP pain subscale, a numeric rating scale, and the Present Pain Intensity subscale of the McGill Pain Questionnaire. Receiver operator characteristic curves indicated that participants categorized with moderate to no cognitive impairment were able to complete 1 or more of the pain assessment tools. Of the severely impaired, 30% were able to complete 1 or more pain assessment tools. Intraclass correlations showed a high degree of consistency among all pairs of tools (intraclass correlation > 0.74). We conclude that most elderly, with normal to moderately impaired cognitive functioning, as well as some severely impaired elderly, are capable of using self-report tools to rate their pain.

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