Dr Jennifer Abbey Endorses PainChek® as an Evolution of the Abbey Pain Scale

Dr Jennifer Abbey, the author of the Abbey Pain Scale, was Queensland’s first Professor of Nursing (Aged Care) and a Foundation Director of one of the three National Dementia Collaborative Research Centres established under the Australian Government’s National Dementia Initiative.

In 2018, Dr Jennifer Abbey, the developer and innovator behind the Abbey Pain Scale, joined PainChek’s Clinical Advisory Board.

In 2022, Dr Abbey continues to provide her knowledge and expertise to support the development of PainChek, and her advocacy for the use of the PainChek solution.

Dr Abbey made the following statement regarding the value of the PainChek solution as part of modern, best-practice pain management:

“The Abbey Pain Scale was constructed in response to observing the poor management of pain when nursing staff estimated a resident’s pain using their experience and intuition. When this was happening, the resident often suffered due to changes in medication management from day-to-day. Though I understand many staff know and understand the residents, these opinions can differ across shifts, and were more often to do with the person recording the pain than careful, systematic and point of care observation of the resident.

More than ever, challenges around staffing levels and training are causing problems for staff in residential facilities. Time pressures may mean experienced staff feel they know when a resident is in pain and can remember a score in their head, then record it later in notes. As much as we acknowledge the skills of these experienced staff, research shows this subjective assessment does not work in the management of pain or diagnosis of a resident’s behaviour.

This issue is underscored by the increasing emphasis on the dangers of using psychotropic drugs as a pseudo-restraint. Facilities need to prove to both prescribing Doctors, and to Regulators, there is clear evidence that these drugs are needed. Indisputable evidence is required, such as that produced by the PainChek app.

The inappropriate use of psychotropic drugs is gaining media attention and arousing public dismay in Australia and overseas. Stricter regulation or supervision should be anticipated, and penalty increases might well follow. Appropriate usage will be assessed by reference to prior pain management records. Impressions or recollections will not be readily accepted. Records such as those generated by PainChek could be expected to satisfy requirements.

The PainChek app, which I see as a welcome evolutionary development of my past work, was introduced to improve pain management practices by ensuring an evidence-based assessment of pain could be made at the point of care, and digitally linked to other systems. This would make information quickly available to prescribing physicians, for example, as well as guiding nursing staff in dispensing PRN medication.

The time difference may be adding precious minutes for staff recording rather than estimating, but those minutes will make a huge difference to the correct management of a person in pain or, for example, one with changed behaviours.”

Abbey Pain Scale
Philip Daffas, CEO and Managing Director, PainChek; Dr Jennifer Abbey;
Professor Jeff Hughes, Chief Scientific Officer, PainChek

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