Evaluating persistent pain in long term care residents: what role for pain maps?

Journal Article (Clinical Trial;Journal Article)

The purpose of this study was to examine the utility of the pain map as a pain assessment tool in frail nursing home residents. The study was conducted in two phases. In Phase 1, nursing home staff's knowledge of the locations of resident pain complaints was examined. We found significant deficiencies in this knowledge. In Phase 2, we examined the following test characteristics of pain extensity (number of painful body areas annotated on pain map): (1) test-retest reliability, (2) convergent validity as compared with pain intensity measured by a pain thermometer (modified vertical verbal descriptor scale) and an 11 point numerical graphic rating scale (NGRS), and (3) predictive validity with depression, functional impairment and self-rated health. Pain map scoring was performed by counting the number of involved body areas (i.e., numbered segments) using an established scoring template. Test-retest reliability by body area was excellent. Pain extensity was modestly associated with pain thermometer-scored pain intensity but not with NGRS-scored pain intensity. Pain extensity also demonstrated modest predictive validity with self-rated health, but not with depression or functional impairment. The advantage of knowing where residents hurt is that this allows staff to target their assessment and thus determine the functional implications of residents' pain. It appears that pain maps add a useful dimension to pain assessment in residents of long term care facilities.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Weiner, D; Peterson, B; Keefe, F

Published Date

  • May 1998

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 76 / 1-2

Start / End Page

  • 249 - 257

PubMed ID

  • 9696480

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0304-3959

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/s0304-3959(98)00059-1


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States