Quality Compliance Systems (QCS) has called on the expertise of PainChek, the company behind the world’s first regulatory cleared medical device for the assessment of pain, to support with the 2023 review of its pain management policy, which has been designed to help improve pain assessment and management in those who cannot reliably self-report their pain.

PainChek has worked closely with QCS to ensure the updated policy supports carers in appropriately identifying and managing pain experiences in people who cannot reliably self-report their pain by harnessing the potential of technology-enabled care.

The QCS Pain Management Policy and Procedure is designed to assist care staff with practical strategies for supporting people who experience pain. Jackie Pool, Dementia Care Champion at QCS explains: “Pain is a significant issue for people who are living with dementia and their carers. It is crucial that we have good education around the whole issue of the experience of pain, the expression of pain, and the support of people who are living in pain, particularly when they are living with dementia.

“Each individual has their own unique pattern of behaviours to show they are in pain; these can be very subtle and can include cognitive, physical, emotional, and social factors. But people living with dementia can experience a range of cognitive symptoms that impact their ‘usual’ expression of pain, for example, difficulty with word-finding, which can mean they cannot articulate their pain in any other way than through their behaviour or vocalisations. Therefore, there is a strong need to consider the possibility of pain as a contributor to behavioural changes in aged care residents living with dementia.

“With this in mind, the QCS Pain Management Policy and Procedure encourages carers to utilise cutting-edge resources and technology to consistently assess and manage pain. The policy supports caregivers in holistically identifying the physical, social, and emotional factors influencing how an individual is experiencing pain and assists them in deciding on the best course of action.”

Lindsay Rees is Head of Social Care Content at QCS and has championed the pain policy internally. She says: “Three particular areas we have highlighted as best practice in our 2023 policy update are pain assessment for all; use of pain assessment tools; and the consideration of non-verbal communication in people with cognitive impairment. Pain assessment should take place for everybody, and assessment should be ongoing and continuous. All the guidance in our new policy will help caregivers to really investigate, measure, and manage pain in a way that truly makes a difference.”

PainChek® is the world’s first regulatory cleared medical device for the assessment of pain, enabling best-practice pain management for people living with pain in any environment, from those who cannot reliably self-report their pain, those who can, and for those whose ability to self-report their pain fluctuates. PainChek’s Tandeep Gill says: “We are delighted to have supported Quality Compliance Systems with the development of this important policy, which recognises the key role digital technology can play in empowering carers to identify and manage pain in people living with dementia.

“Pain tops the list of physical reasons for behavioural changes in people living with dementia, but it is often poorly recognised and undertreated because of cognitive and communication challenges. This leads to behavioural and psychological issues, unnecessary prescribing of antipsychotics, and decreased quality of life.

“Using PainChek, carers can record meaningful pain data, allowing them to address the shortfalls in pain documentation and treat pain according to evidence-based pain management practices, as well as use the data to plan person-centered, long-term care. The result of this is enhanced wellbeing for care home residents, as those unable to verbalise their pain are given a voice.”

Care provider Harbour Healthcare operates homes across England and Wales and has implemented PainChek to assess residents’ pain and its severity at the point of care. Janina John, Regional Support Manager at Harbour Healthcare, explains the impact: “One of our residents was exhibiting symptoms of pain and had 34 recorded incidents, which correlates with their pain level being moderate. Upon implementing PainChek, we could observe that there was a direct correlation between their pain levels and behaviour.

“Within just one month of conducting regular pain assessments using PainChek, the care team reduced the resident’s pain to mild and was able to manage it effectively, resulting in a significant reduction in incidents. This positive outcome speaks volumes about the impact PainChek can have on aged care residents.”

The PainChek® app is available on smartphone and tablets and combines PainChek’s artificial intelligence (AI) pain assessment tool, which intelligently automates the multidimensional pain assessment process, with the Numerical Rating Scale (NRS). This hybrid functionality allows accurate, consistent pain assessment at the point of care, and for care to be considered in PainChek’s detailed reporting suite, PainChek® Analytics.

About Quality Compliance Systems (QCS):

QCS (Quality Compliance Systems) is the leading digital provider of compliance management, policies and procedures that are always up to date enabling over 5,000 social care organisations to deliver and evidence the highest quality care.

At its core, the QCS Compliance Management System is your digital hub for quality compliance and knowledge. We make compliance management easy so you can focus on what matters most – delivering quality care.

With policies, procedures, and compliance toolkits shaped to your business, you can be safe in the knowledge with QCS Policy Centre your business will always be up to date with any changes to legislation, regulation and best practice whatever happens. Reviewed and updated regularly by our team of leading compliance experts, saving you time and hassle. Instant updates are delivered digitally, 24/7, via QCS Policy Centre and QCS App, helping you and your team to focus on delivering quality care.

From guidance on care planning to business operations, medications management to human resources and up-to-date guidance on the latest regulatory requirements, QCS Resource Centre gives you and your team easy access to the latest best practice guidance and resources for delivering quality care. Our team of care specialists from across the sector provide the latest expert insights, guidance, and knowledge to help you and your team stay at the leading edge of providing quality and compliant care.

QCS Dementia Centre – Deliver and evidence better dementia care. Driven by evidence-based tools and best practice and practical guidance on how to deliver quality dementia care, QCS Dementia Centre helps transform the assessment, management and evidencing of care provision for those living with dementia. At the heart of QCS Dementia Centre is the academically validated QCS PAL Instrument for digital assessment of cognitive abilities that supports individualised care and activity for individuals at all levels of dementia.

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