Francesca Glamorgan at St Marys Villa Residential Aged Care

Francesca Glamorgan has worked in aged care for 15 years, with experience spanning clinical research, education, case management, quality, and strategic planning. She’s been at St Mary’s Villa Residential Aged Care, which accommodates 99 residents, for just over a year and works closely with the residents and their families, the management team, and the teams on the floor.

For Francesca and the staff at St Mary’s Villa, pain assessment and management are daily activities.

“The majority of our residents have some form of pain – whether it’s chronic and being managed, or acute pain,” Francesca explains. “Pain assessment is just something we do every day and all day. Every time we interact with someone, we check for the signs of pain: if they’ve stopped eating, if, if they’ve stopped sleeping, if they’re more agitated. It truly influences everything.”

Having experienced first-hand the significant impact pain can have on a person’s quality of life, supporting residents to be comfortable and pain-free is crucial for Francesca.

“There’s nothing worse than seeing someone in pain and distressed,” she says. “I’ve experienced that both professionally and personally with my dad when he was palliating with liver cancer.”

“Just yesterday I had a family with me whose loved one is in palliative care. And the question we always ask them is: what is most important for the resident, but also for the family? Every time, they just want their loved one to be pain-free.”

Transforming pain assessment & management

Prior to Francesca joining St Mary’s Villa, the leadership team had identified that residents’ pain was not being managed as well as it could be, and sought a solution that would enable more objective and consistent pain assessment processes. They decided to implement PainChek®’s digital pain assessment solution after learning about the successful pilot and roll-out with Dementia Support Australia.

Today, PainChek® pain assessments are a key part of St Mary’s Villa’s policies and procedures.

“For our RNs, using PainChek® has become a daily activity,” Francesca shares. “It enables accurate pain assessment upfront, as well as a quicker response time and follow-up, knowing that it is not normal for people to always cry or not sleep. I think the majority of those behaviours can be attributed to unmanaged pain.”

“We’ve embedded PainChek® pain assessments as part of our admission process, so we have that baseline from day one and we can follow up from there. Even with our end-of-life comfort care, it’s part of our checklist, so a pain assessment must be done every two hours.”

Regular use of PainChek® by the St Mary’s Villa team has seen significant benefits, including a reduction in the use of psychotropic medication.

“We previously used psychotropic medication for some residents with dementia to try and settle them down, even if they didn’t have a mental illness,” Francesca says.

“We now have zero chemical restraints for residents, and I think a big part of that comes down to better pain management through PainChek®.”


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