Is there scope for an observational pain scoring tool in paramedic practice?

Christopher Harvey
February 2014

In the pre-hospital environment, attending an older person can pose many challenges, including a lack of a detailed history, polypharmacy and co-morbidities, as well as a lack of out-of-hours support to name but a few. These challenges are enhanced further when the patient is cognitively impaired by syndromes such as dementia.There appears to be very little research available into how the pain of older people with dementia is assessed and managed by paramedics.This article highlights a literature review that was carried out to explore the evidence base and possible implementation of the Abbey Pain Scale, with the view of conducting a study in the near future. Particular focus is made on the education and training required to implement the tool, other environments where it has been adopted, as well as benefits and limitations.

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