Pain Assessment Tools Essay

1240 words - 5 pages

Pain Assessment ToolsPain is a major health problem in this country and is the most common symptom that prompts a patient to seek health care. Pain tells a person something is wrong. At its worst, pain makes the person's life miserable decreases the ability to function normally. For some, pain decreases his/her desire to live. Pain differs among individual patients, even those who appear to have identical injuries or illnesses. There are two types of pain, acute and chronic:Acute pain, for the most part, results from disease, inflammation, or injury to tissues. This type of pain generally comes on suddenly, for example, after trauma or surgery, and may be accompanied by anxiety or emotional distress. The cause of acute pain can usually be diagnosed and treated, and the pain is self-limiting, that is, it is confined to a given period of time and severity. In some rare instances, it can become chronic.Chronic pain is widely believed to represent disease itself. It can be made much worse by environmental and psychological factors. Chronic pain persists over a longer period of time than acute pain and is resistant to most medical treatments. It can--and often does--cause severe problems for patients (MedicineNet, 2003)What does this mean to nurses? Providers need to develop diagnostic and therapeutic ways to manage pain. The primary goal should be focused towards getting the patient to function comfortably and perform activities of daily living. Two tools appear in the forefront in many pain management guidelines. These two tools are the Wong Baker Face Scale and the Numeric Pain Intensity Scale.The Joint Commission of Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) has now made the assessment and management of pain a standard of care. Pain has become the "Fifth Vital Sign". JCAHO feels the management of pain should be an integral part of all care and treatment plans. Nurses should assess patients for pain every time you check for pulse, blood pressure, core temperature, and respiration. JCAHO has stated, "unrelieved pain has adverse physiological and psychological effects". (Pain Assessment and Management: An Organizational Approach.)Where is this reference mention in the citations? JCAHO also believes a pain assessment should include a psychosocial assessment, in addition to a detailed patient history and physical examination and diagnostic evaluation. As mentioned earlier, two tools have been publicized, by professionals in the field of pain management, for the assessment of pain quality."When analgesics were used in infants, they often were administered based only on the perceptions of health care professionals or family members"(American Academy of Pediatrics, 2000). An excellent tool used to assess a newborn infant's pain, is called the Neonatal Infant Pain Scale (NIPS). NIPS assesses behaviors and facial expressions to evaluate infant pain. Examples of criteria assessed with NIPS include:CryingAltered breathing (Is it quick or shallow?)Arm...

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