Occasionally I am a confused younger person (!), but the topic of pain is of interest. When nursing in aged and dementia care in the 70’s and early 80’s, pain was not discussed or considered unless there was an obvious ‘injury’. As a carer for three PWD living in RAC in more recent times, it has been exactly the same experience, and unless they had a fall or obvious wound of some kind, management of pain was simply not considered. The little girl in this picture definitely has the right idea.
It seems that PWD must eventually even stop having headaches, so I am definitely looking forward to that!
Perhaps there is a clue here? I’ve been listening and reading about PWD in the news a lot lately, about issues such as human rights, and even listening to Cameron Camp last week discuss the benefits of Montessori for PWD, and the thing that is sticking out like the proverbial ‘dogs b..s’ is that, even in this ‘enlightened’ world of dementia care, we (PWD) are still being discussed as behaviours, which this relates to the issue of pain not being managed properly because PWD are still being seen and written up in the case notes as a ‘behaviour’ in the aged care setting, and especially in the secure memory unit where people are in later stages of dementia.
When I am unable to communicate because of the symptoms of dementia, will this mean I no longer feel pain or have a headache?
Of course not, therefore clinicians, carers and service providers need to start walking the talk of individual care needs, not just our activities and the food we eat, but including finding ways to properly assess for pain in a PWD, and then offer us appropriate pain management. This blog might be useful to more fully understand what it is like being diagnosed with dementia, which can then help others see past the symptoms of dementia and look for the person, including looking for a normal non dementia symptom such as pain.
The thought of a headache reminds me of this joke… Her husband asked her if she wanted a Panadol just before they went to bed. She said, ‘ no thanks, I haven’t got a headache’ … you can figure out the rest!!!