Blog Posts - Lincolnshire Care Association

 



20/11/2020   How PainChek® can support care providers in their provision of palliative care

The challenges associated with palliative care support are highly unique, as caregivers try to make residents as comfortable as possible while also trying to provide family members with peace of mind. Accurate pain assessment and management is critical during this time, in order to ensure residents live their final days with the highest quality of life possible, and to reassure family members that their loved ones aren’t in pain.

Confused looking older woman standing by window

Understanding the current challenges of pain management in palliative care

Around 70% of care home residents live with a form of dementia. These residents can struggle to communicate their pain levels, and this challenge is only exacerbated as their condition deteriorates.

As residents enter more advanced stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, they lose the ability to effectively communicate directly or verbalise basic requirements — making it difficult for carers and caregivers to provide the best care possible. Those with the condition are also more likely to suffer from discomfort and chronic pain. Despite evidence suggesting that around 50% of residents with dementia regularly experience pain, their pain often goes undetected and therefore not adequately managed due to ineffective or under-used assessment processes.

Pain management in palliative care is critical to ensure residents can make the most of the time they have left. This requires frequent monitoring and assessment of a resident’s non-verbal signals, as slight behavioural changes may indicate that their needs are not being met. However, these changes can be subtle and difficult for carers to detect, particularly if they are not familiar with the resident.

During this time, relatives also want to be assured that their loved ones aren’t suffering and can pass peacefully. Many cannot physically be there with their relatives — or communicate with them if they are — which makes it difficult to truly know whether their loved one is in pain.

Old woman's hands resting on top of duvet

PainChek® and pain management at the end of life

PainChek® is a medical device classified app which uses artificial intelligence and facial recognition to provide accurate pain assessment and support carers during the palliative care phase. PainChek® also supports carers through digitizing the process of pain assessment, therefore improving documentation of residents’ pain profile and communication with health professionals.

Using a smartphone camera, PainChek® uses facial analysis to automatically detect muscle movements that indicate pain. After this, carers are then guided through a digital checklist to assess pain using several indicators, including vocalisation, movement, physical changes, behavioural changes, and changes in activity. The app then gives carers an overall pain score, which can be used to guide pain management and treatment methods.

Old man asleep in bed

Want to learn more about PainChek®?

Get in touch today by emailing drew.hunt@painchek.com, call 0333 577 3397 or click here for more information.