As I interviewed a patient beginning home care this week, the importance of getting a good pain assessment became real. After denying pain 3 times, my client finally admitted she had ‘knee, hip, and thigh pain’ usually after walking.  She forgot about the pain until we attempted leg exercises. 

Photo by Gabin Vallet on Unsplash

Many patients don’t want to complain, so they just say “no” to the pain assessment. 

Often after a few visits, it becomes clear that pain is a limiting factor in a patient’s health and mobility. Unfortunately, the documentation has been completed, and I realize I scored them incorrectly. I have even experienced assessing patients who have just had joint replacement surgery, minimizing and downplaying their post surgical pain at the initial visit.  This inaccurate pain information can lead to incorrect documentation, an inadequate number of visits, and inappropriate reimbursement. 

A good pain assessment is an opportunity to address a factor which could lead to improved short and long term health and safety. 

Download and print this out as a reminder to ask questions to get an accurate picture!

Achieving accuracy with intensity of pain, frequency of pain, areas of pain, and true limitations with activities can provide a more realistic picture of needs and appropriate goals. After all these years I have realized that I frequently have to ‘be a pain’ and ask my patient about their pain several times in a variety of ways in order to get a complete answer! 

Family members caring for loved ones may need to consider this as well. It may take a little prodding to get complete information out of your loved one, regarding pain. It may help to discuss this prior to a medical appointment to save time and present an accurate picture for the physician or clinician.

When we have the most ACCURATE information, then we can have the greatest impact on our patient’s and loved one’s health!

Check out this post on Non Medication Options for Pain Management.

Check out this post on Pain Medication Management.

What assessment or tools do you use to get an accurate picture of pain?

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