Think Pain

This blog is brought to you as part of the ‘Think Pain’ campaign, which is championed by PainChek and Quality Compliance Systems (QCS) in the UK.

Care providers in England are assessed under the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) framework which looks at 5 key questions.

Is the service Safe, Effective, Caring, Responsive and Well-led. Each key area is subject to a four-point rating scale (Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement and Inadequate). The CQC new single assessment framework is being launched in November this year, the Key lines of enquiry (KLOEs) under each Key Question are being replace by ‘Quality Statements’ and there will be 6 new evidence categories.

Here, we will focus on the Key Question Safe, and look at how users of both PainChek and QCS can better meet, exceed, and evidence the requirements of the ‘safe’ quality standards set out by the CQC.


What does it mean to be ‘safe’? Safety is of the utmost importance to everyone involved in care. It is the responsibility of the care provider to ensure a culture and environment that harbours safety at the forefront of the service they provide, for residents, staff and all those involved in the provision of care.

Under the new framework when collecting evidence to support the ‘safe’ key question, one of the quality statements is:

Medicines optimization

‘We make sure that medicines and treatments are safe and meet people’s needs, capacities and preferences by enabling them to be involved in planning, including when changes happen’

Six new evidence categories will now needed to be supported:

  • people’s experiences
  • feedback from staff and leaders
  • observations of care
  • feedback from partners
  • processes- for example ‘administration of and dispensing medicines, including ‘when required’ (PRN) medication’
  • outcomes of care

To evidence your compliance with these regulations to the CQC, it is important to ensure the right tools and procedures are in place to meet these assessment criteria.


PainChek and QCS have partnered in the field of pain management to help support care providers to demonstrate the process of effective pain assessment underpinned by high-quality pain management policy and proccedure to ensure an ongoing review and optimisation of a person’s care.

Assessing pain effectively

PainChek is the innovator of 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, including those who cannot reliably self-report their pain, those who can, and those who fluctuate between the two.

The PainChek® app combines PainChek’s 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, whether a resident or patient can or cannot self-report their pain.

By having a reliable method of identifying, quantifying and documenting pain levels, care providers are better equipped to manage pain for everyone within their care, regardless of their ability to self-report their pain, ensuing equity for all.

This can lead to better optimisation of medicines used for individuals in managing their pain to ensure the interventions taken are effective and have the desired effect. It also acts as a collaborative tool to allow all people involved in a person’s care to review past and present pain scores to effectively provide person-centred care and digitally share evidence with allied healthcare professionals.

PainChek supported Quality Compliance Systems with development of new pain management policy 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.”

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