Tool helps manage pain in dementia residents

Friday, 20 November, 2020

Tool helps manage pain in dementia residents

A tech partnership means that carers can now access a tool to help identify, monitor and reduce pain in dementia aged-care residents.

Person Centred Software’s digital care system — which allows staff to digitally plan, record and monitor the care of residents in real time — has joined forces with pain assessment technology specialist PainChek, to integrate its systems and provide facilities with a more effective tool for managing resident discomfort.

The integration feeds pain assessment data captured in PainChek into the Mobile Care Monitoring system, providing aged-care facilities with a more complete picture of a resident’s needs in one location. The integration helps carers to personalise resident care plans and monitor pain in a way that is particularly useful when caring for people with dementia who are often unable to verbally communicate their discomfort.

Using AI and facial recognition technology, PainChek helps carers identify and quantify pain when pain isn’t obvious, through the measurement of involuntary micro-facial expressions typically associated with pain.

As well as measuring facial expressions, the innovative software assesses other non-facial indicators across six domains, such as behaviours, vocalisations and body movement, to further enhance the assessment process and provide fast, effective and reliable pain scores.

St Andrews Village in Canberra has been using the integrated platforms for more than 12 months. Speaking of how the integration has benefited the facility and its residents, CEO Deborah Booth said, “PainChek is a useful tool for people in the first and second stages of cognitive loss, which is a lot of our residents at St Andrews.

“The integration with Person Centred Software has made the documentation process so much easier. Now, we can pull up a report of resident behaviours. So, if we have someone with triggered behaviour we can go back and look at when the last PainChek assessment was done, check for patterns and act much more quickly to help ease the resident of any discomfort, documenting the outcome through Person Centred Software.”

Person Centred Software CEO Tammy Sherwood said, “It’s fantastic to hear that the integration of our software with PainChek’s is benefiting customers by helping them to identify and manage pain at greater speed, particularly residents living with dementia.

“There are a number of barriers that exist and can make effective pain management more difficult to achieve in aged-care settings, the greatest being communication deficits and cognitive impairment in residents. From speaking with our customers, it’s clear that the integration is proving incredibly effective at removing this barrier, providing homes with an efficient way of monitoring resident pain and giving them the ability to intervene in its early stages to reduce any pain experienced.”

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