Management of pain in people with dementia living in care homes

The aim of this study was to understand the practice of pain management in people with dementia in care home settings, and to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of a training and support intervention for care staff to improve pain management in this population and setting.

In the initial stage, focus groups were held with care home staff and family carers, which revealed the need for an evidence-based pain management programme. Following this, a training and support intervention for care staff was developed and trialled in three care homes. Further focus groups subsequently took place with care home staff to evaluate the use of the intervention, and interview were conducted with residents and family members to explore the impact on residents of the intervention.

The resulting improvements in both pain management behaviour and confidence of staff in managing pain illustrate the value of the qualitative approach to this intervention development, and highlight the importance of eliciting feedback and experiences of all involved parties early in the intervention development process.