• March 8, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Expression Deception, NOT!

    If I’m having a tough day, no one will be the wiser if I smile at everyone I meet. On the flip side, I could win the lottery, but a frown would lead those around me to think my day has been terrible.

    Dr. Kathryn Agarwal, Geriatric Fellow at Harvard Medical School, writes “Patients with advanced dementia cannot voluntarily control their expressions, so observed behaviors are considered external markers of internal states.”

    How about that? Another clue that facial grimacing, teeth grinding, frowning, etc. are indications of pain. Healthy individuals don’t require the “best of the best” pain assessments to determine their pain, for they can verbally communicate it. Our dementia loved ones require a different skill set focused on observation. A grimace can say a thousand words.

    Studies continue to show that a large percentage of nursing home residents suffer from constant pain. The saddest part of these findings is that the majority of the residents report that no doctor or nurse has ever asked if they have pain or discussed pain relief with them.

    What an atrocity! Pain control is a fundamental human right.

    “The impact that pain can have on a patient’s life can range from tolerable discomfort to the production of a sense of crushing and exhausting defeat.” (World Medical Association)

    Stand up for your loved ones and be heard.