Researchers Develop Tool to Assess Pain in Non-Communicative Patients

A new tool to assess acute pain in non-communicative patients has been developed by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Nursing. The tool is the product of four small-scale research projects in several locations over many years. It consists of two standardized forms for nurses and other care providers to score values of behavioral and physical indicators or signs from the patient.

Other research has shown that an estimated 75 percent of patients at end of life have unrelieved pain, researchers said. They added that their tool addresses a tremendous need in medical care because patients who cannot self-report are at risk for under treatment of pain, partly because assessing their pain has not always been consistent between practitioners.

Tests of their Multidimensional Objective Pain Assessment Tool (MOPAT) on non-communicative hospice patients before and after nurses administered medication show that the patients' pain is lessened, said lead researcher Deborah McGuire, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, professor and director of the School's Developing Center of Excellence in Palliative Care Research and Oncology Graduate Program."

The researchers have now expanded their study with the help of UMMC nurses who assisted in using the MOPAT to rate pain in patients from 22 different units of the hospital with a wide variety of medical conditions. The hospital testing results, yet to be published, McGuire said, confirm that the tool is highly valid, adequately reliable, and clinically useful. They are also testing MOPAT at The Hospice of Lancaster County, Pa.

McGuire has been interested in the idea of such a tool off and on for the past 15 years, including her work at Emory University and the University of Pennsylvania before joining the University of Maryland in 2004. "With further study, we hope to see if the MOPAT is helpful in monitoring any shifts in pain levels and aiding nurses and other care providers in management of noncommunicative patients' pain," Kaiser said. The tool theoretically could be used as "a common language," Kaiser added, which doesn’t currently exist. "The way we have tested this is unique, because we used completely noncommunicative patients, who are very hard to study."

Hospice pharmacist Mary Lynn McPherson PharmD, BCPS, CDE said, "This is a huge advance for practitioners working with patients with advanced illness. Pain relief is a basic human right, and the validation of a tool that allows us to provide appropriate analgesics for this fragile population is a tremendous asset." McPherson is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.

The researchers have reported on their tool in the current issue of the Journal of Palliative Medicine.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Safety Management Software - Free Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Software’s comprehensive suite of modules help organizations to record and manage incidents, inspections, hazards, behavior based safety observations, and much more. Improve safety with an easy to use tool for tracking, notifying and reporting on key safety data.

  • Create Flexible Safety Dashboards

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations allows you to easily create and view safety KPIs to help you make informed business decisions. Our best of breed default indicators can also save you valuable time and effort in monitoring safety metrics.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • The 4 Stages of an Incident Investigation

    So, your workplace has just experienced an incident resulting in the injury or illness of a worker. Now what? OSHA recommends that you conduct investigations of workplace incidents using a four-step system.

  • Why Is Near Miss Reporting Important?

    A near miss is an accident that's waiting to happen. Learn how to investigate these close calls and prevent more serious incidents from occurring in the future.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus

Free Whitepaper

Stand Your Ground: A Guide to Slip Resistance in Industrial Safety Footwear

This white paper helps to clarify this complexity, so you can better navigate the standards and better ensure the safety of your employees.

Download Now →

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - November December 2019

    November/December 2019


      Redefining Compliance for the Gas Detection Buyer
      Don't Trip Over the Basics
      What to Look for in Head-to-Toe PPE Solutions
      Effective PPE for Flammable Dust
    View This Issue