Pain is a subjective feeling, with no known biologic markers. Proof of its presence and measurement of intensity rely entirely on self-reporting by the patient. The hampered or abrogated ability of demented patients to report their pain is a major difficulty in pain assessment and management. The purpose of this study was to clarify and conceptualize pain identification in demented patients by nurses. The hybrid model of concept development was used in the development of a conceptual structure of pain in demented patients. Data were collected by literature review (theoretical phase) and among nurses caring for demented patients in three nursing homes in South Korea (fieldwork phase). The 13 nurses involved each reported >3 years' nursing home experience. In a hybrid model, pain identification in demented patients by nurses constituted an active daily process of integrating patient expressional cues during periods of pain and pain relief and involving three dimensions: identification schemes based on the stage and type of dementia, connecting assessments after each intervention, and cognitive efforts to establish the origin of pain. Identification of pain in demented patients by nurses is a complex process. More research is needed to formulate an assessment tool and pain management strategies for patients with dementia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Advanced and Specialised Nursing