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Breaking Through The Pain Barrier In Dementia

September 4, 2009

Those who suffer from dementia aren’t able to articulate pain in a way that caregivers understand. Rather than say when something hurts, they may demonstrate their discomfort through other behaviors like rocking or striking out—actions that even loved ones may misinterpret as symptoms of the dementia, not of pain, which is usually from a different problem. Arthritis, diabetic neuropathy, fractures, muscular contractures, bruises, abdominal pain and mouth ulcers are on the list of common ailments that go undetected. It is important for those who live or work with persons with dementia to know how to identify when an elderly person is experiencing pain and get them treatment sooner rather than later. To help remedy this situation, researcher Cary Brown, PhD, who is on the Rehabilitation Medicine faculty at the University of Alberta, has developed a new, online workshop and toolkit for caregivers, healthcare providers, family members and friends of people with dementia. Dr. Brown has created an evidence-based website with a narrated presentation on pain and dementia, a downloadable resource pack for family members, a downloadable pain log and a facilitator’s toolkit with background material, a planning guide, promotional material and supplemental information for organizations who wish to put on a workshop. The online workshop and toolkit are available just for registering at: www.painanddementia.ualberta.ca