01 December 2014

Pain and dementia

A joint project between Great Western Hospital and AWP in assessing and treating pain in people with dementia is reaping benefits. 

This joint work between Dr Simon Manchip, Dr Lucy Williams - Pain Assessment specialist at GWH  - and Maxine Curtis - pain specialist nurse at Great Western Hospital, has involved a series of road shows and workshops being run over the past three years to educate care homes in assessing and treating pain in people with dementia.

Recent studies have shown this is a major cause of agitation. Most people in care homes with dementia are frail, older, and have multiple medical problems. It is quite understandable that many of them will have pain and if they cannot verbalise their pain, it can come out as agitation or aggression.  Studies show that even simple regular analgesics like Paracetamol can reduce agitation by 80% in such patients. 

The team have now lectured to over 400 staff of care homes in Swindon and Wiltshire. As a result we have been also asked to lecture in Oxford, Milton Keynes and also to over 1000 GPs in London.

Simon Manchip says, "We are pleased that in our daily practice we are seeing the results. We are seeing greater prescription for analgesia to patients in care homes and a reduction in the prescription of tranquilisers. It is estimated that 50% of patients with dementia have pain and recent surveys have shown in many of the homes, 50% of patients with dementia are receiving analgesia with a resultant reduction in pain."

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