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Keywords:

  • aging;
  • pain;
  • arthritis;
  • Alzheimer's disease;
  • non-verbal cues;
  • cognitive impairment

Abstract

Behavioral cues are believed to be useful to identify pain among elders who may be experiencing pain but unable to express it. To examine this assumption, we recruited 192 elders who could verbally express pain to determine whether regression models combining behavioral cues (motor and gait patterns) predicted verbal pain reports. In the best model, age (p < .01) and subscales that measured guarding (p < .001) and joint flexion (p < .01) motor patterns were significant predictors of verbal pain reports. The receiver operating characteristic curve indicated that the best cutoff for predictive probability was 40–44%, with a fair to good C statistic of .78 (SD = .04). With a 40% cutoff, sensitivity and specificity were 71.6% and 71.0%, respectively. The investigators concluded that the final model could serve as a building block for the development of a tool using behavioral cues to identify elders' pain. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 34:218–227, 2011