Selection of pain measurement tools
Joanne Bird Senior Staff Nurse, Ashgate Hospice, Chesterfield, Derbyshire
Background Although pain measurement tools have been available for a number of years their reliability and validity cannot be presumed because none holds psychometric stability in every environment. To select the most appropriate tool for an individual patient, nurses need to be aware of those available and their limitations. This article discusses the use of selected tools with specific patient groups.
Conclusion A variety of tools are currently used for measuring pain, and each one has its merits and limitations. It is difficult to choose the most suitable tool for clinical settings in which a standard tool is to be used. Patient populations are diverse and can include adults of any age, with acute, chronic or malignant pain and cognitive or physical impairments of varying origin. There will be occasions when the tool used is inappropriate for an individual patient or a patient cannot complete the tool. Patients and nurses need to be educated about pain measurement tools to ensure their successful use.
This article has been subject to double blind peer review
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