About World Alzheimer’s Day
Every year on 21 September, World Alzheimer’s Day is organised by Alzheimer’s Disease International. The aim of the day is raise awareness and to challenge the stigma that persists around Alzheimer’s disease and all types of dementia. The theme this year is ‘Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer’s’. It has a special focus on post-diagnostic support – a continuation of last year’s Day.
Pain in Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is an increasingly prevalent health problem, affecting approximately 50 million people worldwide. Pain among people with Alzheimer’s disease is common, and can be disabling. individuals with Alzheimer’s disease perceive pain, but the interpretation and cognitive and emotional evaluation of pain may vary. Due to issues with communication, individuals are at a high risk of underdiagnosis if pain is not directly assessed.
Pain assessment in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease?
This can be challenging, depending on the stage of Alzheimer’s disease. A patient’s Mini Mental State Examination score may help a clinician choose what tool may be best to use to assess pain. Clinicians should always aim to use easy to understand scales, repeating the question and the instructions on how to use the scale, and leaving enough time to respond. Pain assessment scales often use observational items relating to facial expressions, vocalisation, and body movements. These can be completed at rest and during movements or transfers if clinicians think pain may be more associated with movement related tasks. Where individuals have significant neuropsychological deficits like significant memory and speech impairments, clinicians should not interpret a lack of self-reported pain as evidence of no pain.
For more information and to access the resources relating to World Alzheimer’s Day please visit https://www.alzint.org/get-involved/world-alzheimers-month/