CONTROLLING PAIN: Pain management by the numbers: Using rating scales effectively
Yvonne D'Arcy CRNP, CNS, MS

November 2007 
Volume 37  Number 11
Pages 14 - 15
  PDF Version Available!


D'Arcy, Yvonne CRNP, CNS, MS

Yvonne D'Arcy is a nurse practitioner in pain management and palliative care at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md., and a member of the Nursing2007 editorial advisory board. Meet Ms. D'Arcy, who's speaking at the Nursing2008 Symposium in Las Vegas, Nev., March 18 to 21, 2008.

ASSESSING A PATIENT'S PAIN accurately isn't always easy, but using the right pain intensity rating scale can help you match interventions to a patient's needs. In this article, I'll describe several pain intensity rating scales and how to use them.

Bring on the basics: One-dimensional scales

The most common way to assess pain intensity is with a numeric pain intensity scale ranging from 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst possible pain). Most nurses understand how to perform this assessment technique and do it well, but remember that this scale is useful only for measuring changes in pain intensity or the ...

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