Pain Management

Symptoms

You probably know when you are feeling pain. The important thing is to let your healthcare provider know:

  • The location of the pain
  • The intensity of the pain
  • How often you feel the pain
  • How long the pain lasts
  • What soothes it or makes it worse 
Your self-report is the crucial link that will allow you to get the treatment you need.  You are the best source of information on your pain.

Pain in Older Adults with Dementia

If you are caring for an older person with dementia or someone who is cognitively impaired or unable to tell you what they are feeling, they may express pain in other ways, including changes in behavior or usual activity.  Look for:

  • Restlessness, agitation, irritability, resistance, or guarding behaviors
  • Crying, moaning, or groaning
  • Limping, frequently shifting position
  • Pained facial expressions, such as grimacing
  • Depression
  • Changes in usual daily activities, including fewer social interactions
  • Refusal to eat
  • Disturbed sleep

For some older people living with dementia or cognitive impairments (particularly when these conditions prevent someone from communicating effectively), around-the-clock dosing with medication may be appropriate, because “as needed” dosing could result in under-treatment of pain. 

Updated: March 2017