Research Project

Identifying Pain

People with profound or severe intellectual disability can experience multiple health problems related to pain. The identification and treatment of pain often goes unrecognised and untreated. Because of complex communication needs, people with profound or severe intellectual disability are unable to self-report pain. Instead, behavioural signs are relied upon to determine if someone is experiencing pain.

Behavioural checklists have been frequently trialled in settings related to dementia, paediatrics and palliative care in order to improve identification and management of pain. Few studies have trialled these checklists with people who have profound or severe intellectual disability.

The aim of this research was to understand the experiences of pain in adults with severe or profound ID and explore the impact of an education session on support workers’ beliefs, knowledge and confidence in identifying and responding to pain in this group of people. The education session also trialled two behavioural checklists to determine whether they could be used to identify pain. It is anticipated that the results of this research will help us to better identify and respond to pain in people with profound or severe ID.

Here’s the summary of the research

For more information, please email research@scopeaust.org.au