Simple Descriptive Pain Assessment

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In the past, pain was viewed primarily as a sensory experience produced by a nociceptive or neural response associated with tissue injury. To this effect, pain assessment does not need any formal training (Gregory 2000). Later it was discovered that pain also affects every other aspect of individual experiencing it, as well as the family and even the community as it is viewed to be pervasive and poorly treated in hospital setting (Smeltzer and Bare 2004).
In USA, three quarter of surgical patients report inadequate relief of acute pain, four in ten people with moderate to severe chronic pain have inadequate relief, more than twenty six million people age 20 – 64 years live with frequent or persistent back pain, one in six suffers from arthritic pain, only 30% of
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Through simple descriptive pain intensity scale and patients’ verbal report of pain are simple, quick, easy to use and understand (Gregory 2000), yet Ene et al (2008) reported that there is discrepancy in pain perception between nurses and patients using these simple subjective tools for pain assessment. Few nurses agreed that the following pain assessment tools are used in their institutions Wong Baker, Face pain rating scale, 0 – 10 numeric pain intensity scale and visual analogue scale. The reasons given by majority for not using these include unavailability and the hospital policy. While few agreed that they are available and that the hospital policy is not barrier to their use. It should also be noted that 55.7% of the nurses agreed that the reason for not using the tools was due to fact that nurses lack the knowledge of how to use these tools. This agree with earlier finding by Clark (2005), MacDonald et al (2002) and Langhlin and Torbler( 2000) who stated in their studies that inadequate knowledge of pain assessment as the greatest barrier to optimal pain

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