How to Accurately Assess Pain

Assessment Tools for Pain

We’re going to look at six different assessment tools for pain. The first one is the Numeric Rating Scale, it’s the most common scale used. You tell the patient on a scale from 0 to 10, with zero being no pain at all, and 10 being the most pain you’ve ever felt, to say what number their pain is.

That’s the pain scale you give them. The next one is the Visual Analog Scale. It’s a 10-centimeter line with one side being no pain, and the other side being the most severe pain. They point to where on the line they think their pain is.

Then it’s measured from the no pain to where they pointed and that’s the number given to them on what their pain is. On Categorical Scales there’s a couple of different tools in this section. One of them is a verbal tool, and they give just a brief word over what they would describe their pain as, such as mild or horrible.

Another one is a Visual Tool, and it has different smiley faces, one face can be happy, one face can be so, so, one face can be a frown and one can be crying, and they point to the one that they think describes what their pain is.

Next is an Initial Pain Assessment tool. This is done typically first thing when they come into the inpatient setting and it -accesses- assesses the characteristics of the pain, the patient’s manner of expressing the pain and the effects the pain has on the patient’s quality of life.

The next one is a Brief Pain Inventory, and it measures the pain on a 24-hour scale. Basically, describing the location, intensity, how it affects the quality of life, the type and how the patient is responding to that pain. Lastly, the McGill Pain Questionnaire assesses pain on three levels. It assesses it on the sensory, affective and evaluative level.



by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: August 15, 2019