Pain assessment and management in advanced dementia: nursing home staff knowledge, attitudes and practice

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Background: Pain relief for nursing home residents with advanced dementia is often suboptimal.

Aims: To explore nursing home staff knowledge, attitudes and practices in pain
assessment and management in advanced dementia in a region of the

Methods: A 48-item online questionnaire for self-completion was developed, piloted and distributed to care home nurses, student nurses and healthcare assistants (HCAs). An invitation, questionnaire and participant information sheet were circulated by University care home network contacts via an academic nurse specialist gatekeeper. Ethical approval
was obtained from [Research Ethics Committee name]. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS (V29).

Results: Data collection is ongoing, with 140 completed questionnaires received to date (HCAs: 45; 32.1%, nurses: 47; 33.6%, student nurses: 48; 34.3%). Most respondents were female (123; 87.8%) and had been working in UK care homes for 1 to 5 years (71; 50.7%). Over half (55.7%) had not read policies and guidelines about pain and dementia from their care home, 98 (70%) never/rarely used guidelines and 54 (38.6%) had never received training about dementia and pain. Approximately two-thirds (93; 66.4%) indicated that assessing pain in residents with advanced dementia was part of their role. Over two-fifths (58; 41.4%) reported their care home used the Abbey Pain Scale while 53 (37.9%) did not know which assessment tool was used. Over two-thirds (96; 68.5%) agreed/strongly agreed that the WHO analgesic ladder should inform decisions about pain treatment. A majority reported that residents were often (32.1%) or always (43.6%) prescribed analgesia that met their swallowing needs.

Conclusions: Nursing home staff knowledge and utilisation of guidelines and pain assessment tools were limited. Education and training should address these deficits and emphasise the role of all nursing home staff in pain assessment and management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-216
Number of pages2
JournalPalliative Medicine
Publication statusAccepted - 30 Apr 2024
Event13th EAPC World Research Congress - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 16 May 202418 May 2024


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