- Not everyone is able to talk about their pain. People who are unable to talk or self-report may include:
- Neonates, infants and preverbal children;
- Older adults with cognitive impairment (such as advanced dementia);
- Persons with intellectual disability;
- Critically ill or unconscious persons; and
- Persons who are terminally ill.
- Here are the steps to follow when someone cannot report their pain:
- Attempt to have the person self-report
- If a person is unable to self-report, rely on behavioural indicators or behavioural pain scales validated for the specific population they belong to and the context.
- Obtain proxy reporting from family or caregivers about potential behaviour that may indicate pain.
- Minimize emphasis on vital signs because they do not discriminate pain from other sources of distress.
Assessment and Management of Pain - 3rd Edition
Point of Care Resources