Pain management is an essential component of care. Nobody likes to be in pain, and when residents have chronic disease processes like arthritis, muscular-skeletal pain, oncology pains, neuropathic pain or any other source of pain we must be able to fully assess, implement and evaluate the effectiveness of any intervention.
Intervention strategies may include pharmacological (drug) therapy but also non-pharmacological interventions such as heat packs, massage therapy, diversional therapy, music therapy, pet therapy, even a good cup of tea and a chat.
Pain may also be associated with a change in a resident’s behaviour, especially if they are unable to verbalise their distress.
In July VMCH will be rolling out a new method of pain assessment for residential aged care residents who can no longer express their pain verbally. This pain assessment will replace the existing assessment took called the “Abbey Pain Scale”.
The new pain assessment will be a technology–based solution called PainChek®.
Three VMCH homes completed a trial of PainChek® in late 2018, with positive outcomes. We have now decided to roll out this assessment took across all VMCH homes.
PainChek®is a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) registered medical device for the assessment of pain. It allows staff to quantify the severity of pain for our residents and put strategies in place to minimise any pain.
PainChek® works through scanning the resident’s face – like taking a picture. This will map the micro muscles of the resident’s face and be analysed for expressions of pain. No picture of the resident is stored during the process, just the analysis of the mapping of the muscles.
Staff also complete assessments on vocalisations, movements, behaviours, activity and the body to complete the assessment.
PainChek®will use all this data to provide an overall assessment on the level of pain and will be provided to all VMCH residents when they are unable to express verbally their levels of pain.
For further information about the use of PainChek in a particular VMCH residential aged care home, please contact them directly.