Admiral nurses publish guide on managing ‘silent’ dementia pain


A group of admiral nurses have published a pain management guide to help ensure that people with dementia are not suffering in silence.

The information leaflet, produced by admiral nurses from Dementia UK, offers carers advice on how to recognise that a person with dementia is in pain and how to alleviate it.

According to Dementia UK, this is one of the more challenging aspects of dementia as people with the condition may not be able to manage their pain or communicate about it.

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This can mean that their pain is not treated properly, which can increase their discomfort and distress, and reduce their quality of life.

Vulnerability or being afraid can also lead to people with dementia experiencing pain in a heightened way, according to the guide.

Sharron Tolman, Consultant Admiral Nurse at Dementia UK, said: “There is evidence that people with dementia are more likely to experience untreated pain than those who aren’t living with the condition.”

According to the leaflet, signs that a person with dementia may be experiencing pain include calling out or shouting; change in mood and becoming withdrawn; sleeping more or less than usual; refusing food or having a reduced appetite; and fidgeting, restlessness and/or agitation.

People with dementia are more likely to have other significant and potentially painful health conditions, the guide notes, such as gum disease, arthritis and constipation, in addition to depression.

Tolman continued: “There are a number of things you can do at home to help manage pain but identifying it as a concern in the first place is key to developing a good plan of care. Treatments can include warm and cold compresses, relaxation and movement as well as use of medication to maximise comfort.”

You can read or download the full Dementia UK leaflet here

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Sarah Clarke

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