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: 1.53). 12/2000; 1(4):106-15. DOI: 10.1053/jpmn.2000.19332
Source: PubMed


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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Available from: Sangeeta Agrawal, Dec 18, 2014
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    • "Although previous studies on use of pain scales with cognitively impaired older adults have shown that many can complete selected scales reliably, little evidence is available for differentiating scale use by cognitive level. Manz et al. (2000) found that 90% to 100% of mildly to moderately cognitively impaired nursing home residents could complete selected pain scales, and 30% of the severely impaired older adults could complete one or more tools. Feldt et al. (1998) reported 75% of cognitively impaired hospitalized older adults could complete the VDS. "
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to determine the reliability and validity of selected pain intensity scales such as the Faces Pain Scale (FPS), the Verbal Descriptor Scale (VDS), the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS), and the Iowa Pain Thermometer (IPT) to assess pain in cognitively impaired older adults. A descriptive correlational design was used, and a convenience sample of 66 volunteers age 60 and older residing in assisted living facilities in the South was recruited for this study. The sample included 22 (33%) men and 44 (67%) women, with a mean age of 76. Ninety-eight percent (65) of the sample comprised Caucasian participants, with the exception of 1 African-American man. Seventy percent (47) completed high school and/or college. The mean Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE) score was 16, with a range of 1 to 29. Eighty-five percent scored 24 or lower, indicating some degree of cognitive impairment. The remaining 15% were cognitively intact. All but one participant could use each scale to rate their pain. Concurrent validity of the VDS, NRS, and IPT was supported with Spearman rank correlation coefficients ranging from .78 to .86 in the cognitively impaired group. The FPS, however, demonstrated weak correlations with other scales when used with the impaired group, ranging from .48 to .53. In the cognitively intact group, strong correlations ranging from .96 to .97 were found among all of the scales. Test-retest reliability at a 2-week interval was acceptable in the cognitively intact group (Spearman rank correlations ranged from .67 to .85) and unacceptable for most scales in the cognitively impaired group (correlations ranged from .26 to .67). When asked about scale preference, both the cognitively impaired and the intact groups preferred the IPT and the VDS. This study revealed that cognitive impairment did not inhibit participants' ability to use a variety of pain intensity scales, but the stability issue must be considered.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2005 · Rehabilitation nursing: the official journal of the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses
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    • "As with any attempt to measure a subjective experience using words, it is also possible that patients might not understand the adopted descriptions of pain (Flaherty 1996). Since its design over 20 years ago, the MPQ continues to be used by researchers (Manz et al. 2000, Watt-Watson et al. 2000, Caraceni 2001). There is also a short form version (SF MPQ), used by Zalon (1999) for postoperative pain and Baker et al. (2001) for assessing pain experience during labour. "
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    ABSTRACT: Postoperative pain is an expected phenomenon. However, its passage beyond acceptable limits is a common and costly experience. This is particularly the case in day surgery, partly because of the increasing demand to reduce waiting lists for elective surgery, and partly because of lack of knowledge about patients' experiences of postoperative pain and relevant published research. The latter is mainly concerned with different interpretations of the phenomenon of pain that appear to have led to a variety of often inappropriate pain measurement tools. This paper critically reviews some of the available objective and subjective measures of pain and establishes the suitability of a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) for measuring the intensity of pain after day surgery. Nursing and health care papers published since 1983 were sought using the keywords: postoperative pain, day surgery, ambulatory surgery, rating scales, VAS, severity, assessment, tool, nursing, validity, sensitivity, reliability and their various combinations. The databases used were Medline, CINAHL, Nursing Collection, Embase, Healthstar, BMJ and several on-line Internet journals, specifically Ambulatory Surgery. The search included only papers published in the English language. A range of interpretations of pain have led to the development of various measurement tools that address different components of pain. This inconsistency has led to ineffective pain management. Based on established criteria, the VAS was found to be methodologically sound, conceptually simple, easy to administer and unobtrusive to the respondent. On these grounds, the VAS seems to be most suitable for measuring intensity of pain after day surgery. Common guidelines on the definition and measurement of pain are needed. In day surgery, the availability of a unified and reliable measure of pain that can address its sensory component, such as the VAS, will provide more reliable information about the pain experience and, hence, improve its overall management.
    Full-text · Article · May 2004 · Journal of Advanced Nursing

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