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Report on the Proof of concept for the Bolton Pain Assessment Tool: Evaluation by staff from four clinical areas

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  • Communication Difficulties And Pain Assessment
  • Proof Of Concept
  • Bolton Pain Assessment Tool
  • Acute Care
  • Communication


An audit conducted at UHSM identified the need for a pain assessment tool to help identify pain for people with communication difficulties which led to this small study to test the usefulness of the Bolton Pain Assessment Tool (BPAT). BPAT was developed for patients with communication difficulties and includes a section for the family to be involved in the assessment and provide information specifically relating to the individual.The Bolton Pain Assessment Tool has been introduced and used within four clinical areas of the Trust that were identified as having a proportion of patients with communication difficulties, including dementia.This study helps to address some of the recommendations from the National Dementia Strategy (2009) to improve the care provided in Hospital by addressing the need to recognise, assess and manage pain for all patients admitted to hospital.The aim of the proof of concept study was to assess if the BPAT is useful and helps to identify pain in acute clinical areas. Findings are: • All the staff involved in the evaluation agreed that it was easy to use• The time taken was between half a minute and 5 minutes. Mode was 2 minutes • The use of the BPAT facilitated the process of a review and/ or the administration of analgesia to ensure appropriate / adequate pain management for patients with communication difficulties. • There was limited involvement of the family or close carer of an individual with communication difficulties, but when they were asked they provided relevant information to assist in the assessment and management of pain.• Clinical staff in acute care rated the scale as 8 out of 10 and the majority rated it better or a lot better than other pain assessment tools.Future Plans The intention is to extend the use of BPAT across the organisation and collect further data to support its use.

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