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Commentary on: Zwakhalen SM, Van’t Hof CE, Hamers JP. Systematic pain assessment using an observational scale in nursing home residents with dementia: exploring feasibility and applied interventions. J Clin Nurs 2012;21:3009–17.
Implications for practice and research
Observational behavioural tools often fail to identify pain among people with dementia, rendering their utility to clinical practice questionable.
Caregivers used strategies such as redirecting rather than analgesic medication.
Further research is needed to explore the most effective strategies for decreasing pain in this context. This likely includes using different assessment strategies, different treatment protocols and staff mentoring.
The underdetection of pain in people with dementia is commonplace1 resulting in reduced quality of life and increased behaviour problems. Research has shown that pain can be detected and effectively treated in nursing home residents with dementia,2 ,3 reducing behaviour problems …
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