In conversation with:

-Philip Daffas, CEO and Managing Director, PainChek

-Suzanne Mumford, Head of Nursing, Care & Dementia, Care UK

-Cheryl Baird, Director of Quality & Care

– Louis Holmes, Senior Policy Adviser, Care England.

Managing pain for people living with dementia can pose huge challenges across the health and social care sectors. For many people living with dementia, their ability to self-report the presence and severity of their pain can become less reliable as their condition progresses.

Over the years, there have been several paper-based pain assessment tools aimed at those who cannot reliably self-report their pain. However, these have remained underutilised for several reasons. Mainly due to the length of time they take to complete, as well as how subjective the overall assessment process is, resulting in unreliable outputs depending on which carer or nurse is completing the assessment. Due to their paper-based nature, they also often sit outside of any digital care planning systems meaning data has to be manually entered and is often difficult to analyse and report on.

Philip Daffas, PainChek’s CEO, draws particular attention to the need for pain assessments to be carried out at the point-of-care. He discusses how multi-dimensional and fluid the experience of pain is. If pain is not assessed at the point-of-care, and appropriate interventions taken immediately, the value of the pain assessment is already weakened. To effectively assess and treat pain, the workflow needs to be swift and well documented, allowing for appropriate follow-up assessments to be conducted to ensure pain relief interventions have been effective.

Cheryl Baird, Director of Quality and Care at Orchard Care Homes highlights the fact ruling out pain can be equally as valuable as identifying pain. When discussing how they have utilised PainChek at Orchard Care Homes, Cheryl says: “if you’re able to rule out pain as a cause of someone’s behaviours, then it allows care teams to look at other drivers of that behaviour. Is the resident hungry, are they bored, or are they thirsty?”

Rounding off the session, the group discusses how better managing a person’s pain in a care home will result in reduced hospital admissions and inappropriate prescriptions, ultimately improving the quality of life of a resident and ensuring they live a well-rounded and balanced lifestyle in the care home environment.

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