CONTROLLING PAIN: Assessing pain in patients who can't communicate

October 2004 
Volume 34  Number 10
Pages 27 - 27
  PDF Version Available!


  • When your patient is intubated

  • When your patient is elderly


    MOST PATIENTS can use the 0-to-10 pain scale to rate their pain level. But some adults, including sedated, intubated patients and older adults who may be cognitively impaired, need another method to communicate their needs. Consider these options.

    When your patient is intubated

    Don't believe the myth that a patient sedated with midazolam or propofol can't feel pain. Studies show otherwise: About 50% of ICU patients who were intubated and sedated recall painful events. Because sedated patients can't use a 0-to-10 pain scale to communicate their pain, they're at risk for being inadequately medicated for pain.

    A new behavioral pain scale has been developed especially for critically ill sedated and mechanically ventilated adult patients. Developed by Payen and colleagues, it rates a patient's ...

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