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Developing a Pain Assessment for clients with a Learning Disability. Hot

User rating
5.0 (1)


Area Classification

Learning Disabilities

Briefly describe what it is

“Pain is whatever the patient says it is,” McCaffery and Beebe ( 1989), however clients with a Learning Disability find it difficult to tell their pain stories; even if a client has verbal skills, describing pain can be difficult. As highlighted by the “Death by Indifference Report “( Mencap 2007) and “Healthcare For All” ( Micheal 2008) . The Portsmouth Learning Disability Team has developed a pain protocol and assessment tools, which can be used with a wide range of people, ranging from those with profound disabilities to subtle communication difficulties, and have introduced this into their service.

Were there any key things that you had to do to make it happen?

 Critical analysis of generic pain assessment tools
 Service user consultation
 Peer review
 Trial of tool within one of the residential units and by the community team
 Consultation with pain clinic

Describe (and provide evidence) of the impact on quality of care

Julie had several visits to the GP, but despite being observed limping no action was taken, as Julie always reported being “fine” .The G.P subsequently used Julia’s pain diary to diagnose and successfully treat her sciatica. “The doctor could understand about my pain when he read the story."

Describe (and provide evidence) of the impact on patient (or staff) experience

Maureen found that by using a pain diary, her G.P was able to adjust her medication accordingly.Maureen said - “The assessment helped me talk to staff and I felt they listened because it was all written down”
Staff comment- “it allowed me to listen and not make assumptions”.

Describe (and provide evidence) of the impact on reducing cost

Reduced number of visits to the G.P means more effective use of G.P time and more appropriate treatment and medication will enable cost savings in terms of professional time and appropriate treatment.

Keywords / Tags

• Listening to patients stories and consistent and comprehensive assessment

User comments


excellent work

can relate to this work and know that pain is an area that needs to be developed
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