As many as 80 percent of nursing home residents live with chronic pain, much of it unrecognized and untreated. Despite increased focus on pain identification and treatment the past few years, many care facilities still struggle to establish pain management programs. We asked some nursing administrators who have implemented programs to share their strategies.
When Greg Wainman, was nurse manager at Birchwood Health Care Center in Lake, Minn., he was concerned about staff misconceptions about pain management and treatment, and that staffers were reacting to pain rather than being proactive.
He educated himself by attending pain management workshops and developed pain assessment tools to be completed on admission, readmission, annually, and in some cases weekly. Because he felt a 0-10 scale left too much room for misinterpretation by staff, he developed a 0-5 scale for both verbal and nonverbal indicators.
Wainman organized training sessions for licensed staff, then followed with monthly meetings for all nursing staff. The nursing staff monitored pain levels in residents during every shift and …