Pain is a common and distressing symptom in critically ill patients. Uncontrolled pain places patients at risk for numerous adverse psychological and physiological consequences, some of which may be life-threatening. A systematic assessment of pain is difficult in intensive care units because of the high percentage of patients who are noncommunicative and unable to self-report pain. Several tools have been developed to identify objective measures of pain, but the best tool has yet to be identified. A comprehensive search on the reliability and validity of observational pain scales indicated that although the Critical-Care Pain Observation Tool was superior to other tools in reliably detecting pain, pain assessment in individuals incapable of spontaneous neuromuscular movements or in patients with concurrent conditions, such as chronic pain or delirium, remains an enigma.
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Pain Management| June 01 2013
Observational Pain Scales in Critically Ill Adults
Mindy Stites, RN, MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC, CCNS, CCRN
Mindy Stites is a critical care clinical nurse specialist at the University of Kansas Hospital, Kansas City, Kansas, and a recent graduate of the University of Missouri, Sinclair School of Nursing, Columbia, Missouri.
Corresponding author: Mindy Stites, rn, msn, aprn, acns-bc, ccns, ccrn, 231 Edgewood Dr, Wellsville KS, 66092 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
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Crit Care Nurse (2013) 33 (3): 68–78.
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Mindy Stites; Observational Pain Scales in Critically Ill Adults. Crit Care Nurse 1 June 2013; 33 (3): 68–78. doi: https://doi.org/10.4037/ccn2013804
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