Pain assessment strategies in home care and nursing homes in Mid-Norway: a cross-sectional survey
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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The prevalence of pain ranges from 27.8% to 86.5% in nursing homes and 42% to 50% in home care. Pain assessment is the first step toward effective pain management. The aim of this study was to explore the use of pain assessment strategies (verbal, numeric, and observation rating scales and standardized questions) in home care and nursing homes. The study was a descriptive cross-sectional survey. Health care providers who were responsible for the patients' medications replied to a questionnaire. In-home care and nursing homes in 11 randomly selected municipalities in Mid-Norway were included. Three hundred ninety-two individuals were included in this study (70% response rate): 271 (69%) from nursing homes and 121 (31%) from home care. The respondents working in home care had a higher educational level than those in working in nursing homes. Pain assessment instruments were not used frequently in nursing homes and home care. Verbal and numeric rating scales were used significantly more frequently in home care than in nursing homes. Registered nurses (RNs) in nursing homes used standardized questions significantly more often than did RNs in home care. RNs and social educators in home care self-reported less competence in treating the patients' total pain experience than did those in nursing homes. Workplace (working in home care) and regular training in the use of pain assessment tools explained more than 20% of the variation in the use of pain assessment tools. Regular training in the use of pain assessment tools is needed for health care workers in home care and nursing homes.