New facial recognition technology developed in Australia will help medical staff manage the pain of dementia patients who struggle to communicate.

The PainChek app runs on smartphones or tablets and uses artificial intelligence to analyse facial expressions to assess pain levels.

The software captures the information it needs in just three seconds and uses standardised pain scales but can be tailored to include patient-specific information such as medication.

“Pain for people living with dementia may often go undetected or under-treated,” Associate Professor Colm Cunningham, of Dementia Support Australia, told AAP.

Dementia sufferers often cannot communicate and some behaviour, such as pushing someone away or swearing, could be misinterpreted, he said.

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