It can be very hard to pinpoint pain, but imagine the complication of trying to communicate your pain when you have dementia, and worse attempting to communicate that whilst ‘stranded’ in a hospital bed with little or no input.
Hilton Nursing are only too aware that pain in dementia arising from muscoskeletal or neuropathic, but also arising from comorbidities, is a major issue for people with moderate to severe dementia.
The company’s home is best for patient recovery service aims to tackle this complication for patients with dementia by intervening via their discharge pathway, Home to Decide, under the supervised and expert care of Hilton Nursing Partners.
Ann Taylor, CEO of Hilton Nursing Partners says: “Even when we can communicate our pain it is often still very hard to pinpoint the exact source and cure. This is compounded when a patient has dementia. Even with moderate dementia, confusion is more than likely to be present. Specific outward signs of pain can be easier to diagnose. For instance if a patient is bruised from knocking into furniture that’s easy to put the necessary interventions in place, however a patient may have an UTI infection, this is a completely different prospect and would require prescription drugs to ease the infection and discomfort. You can begin to understand why it so important to be aware of pain in dementia patients and continually assesses to be sure patients are not suffering unnecessary discomfort.”
In the later stages of dementia verbal communication is likely to deteriorate resulting in the lack of ability to communicate effectively or precisely, which can result in pain not being recognised by those providing care.
It is well documented that responsive behaviours due to pain are often misattributed to other causes, specifically psychiatric problems. This lack of awareness and assumption leads to inappropriate treatment, in this instance psychiatric medications.1
Ensuring carers are aware of patient pain; Hilton Personal Nursing Assistants are trained to identify the signs of pain. Ann explains: “For instance, Hilton routinely record facial expressions, levels of restlessness, changes in body language and behaviour, unusual physical reactions to being repositioned, and confusion, all warning signs of underlying problems and not simply a symptom of having dementia. This is why it is so important to safely discharge dementia patients from lengthy hospital stays. We know this form of ongoing assessment just won’t be happening in hospital, leaving many patients in a situation of accelerated decline.”
Rated “Outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) Hilton Nursing Partners are one the first external companies to offer rapid and cost-effective hospital discharge services. Working with the NHS and Social Care Commissioners