Skip Navigation LinksHome > July 2008 - Volume 108 - Issue 7 > Pain Assessment in People with Dementia
AJN, American Journal of Nursing:
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000325648.01797.fc
FEATURE: How to Try This

Pain Assessment in People with Dementia

Horgas, Ann PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN; Miller, Lois PhD, RN, FGSA

Continued Education
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Pain in older adults is very often undertreated, and it may be especially so in older adults with severe dementia. Changes in a patient's ability to communicate verbally present special challenges in treating pain, and unrelieved pain can have serious consequences, including declines in physical function and diminished appetite. The Pain Assessment in Advanced Dementia (PAINAD) scale has been designed to assess pain in this population by looking at five specific indicators: breathing, vocalization, facial expression, body language, and consolability. A trained nurse or other health care worker can use the scale in less than five minutes of observation. For an online video showing nurses using the PAINAD scale and other pain-assessment tools, go to

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


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