Research Project

Identifying Pain

Pain in people with intellectual disability and limited communication is often not recognised and, in turn, left untreated.

The aim of the Keeping Pain in Check project was to determine if a checklist, the Non-Communicating Adult Pain Checklist, helped disability support workers to identify pain in people with intellectual disability and limited communication. Another aim was to develop and trial an online training course for disability staff and evaluate whether it improved knowledge about pain in people with Intellectual disability and limited communication.

The majority of disability staff (e.g., disability support workers, house supervisors) who completed the online training reported that that it helped improve their knowledge about pain, and confidence in identifying pain in people with intellectual disability and limited communication. Analyses of the Non-Communicating Adult Pain Checklist (NCAPC) indicated that there were many differences in behaviours observed when the person with intellectual disability was reported to be in pain compared to when they were content.

The results of this research suggest that a training course can improve knowledge about pain and that the Non-Communicating Adult Pain Checklist may be useful in assisting disability support workers to identify pain in people with intellectual disability and limited communication.

A summary of the research is available here.

For more information about the research, please contact the research team at research@scopeaust.org.au