Nursing Assessment of Pain
The highly subjective nature of pain makes pain assessment and management challenges for every clinician. The report of pain is a social transaction; thus, assessment and management of pain re-quire a good rapport with the person in pain. In assessing a pa-tient with pain, the nurse reviews the patient’s description of the pain and other factors that may influence pain (eg, previous ex-perience, anxiety, and age) as well as the person’s response to pain relief strategies. Documentation of the pain level as rated on a pain scale becomes part of the patient’s medical record, as does a record of the pain relief obtained from interventions.
Pain assessment includes determining what level of pain relief the acutely ill patient believes is needed to recover quickly or im-prove function, or what level of relief the chronically or termi-nally ill patient requires to maintain comfort (Chart 13-3). Part of a thorough pain assessment is to understand the patient’s ex-pectations and misconceptions about pain (Chart 13-4). A per-son who understands that pain relief not only contributes to comfort but also hastens recovery is more likely to request or self-administer treatment appropriately.
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