Evaluation and effectiveness of pain recognition and management training for staff working in learning disability services
Article first published online: 27 DEC 2010
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
British Journal of Learning Disabilities
Volume 39, Issue 3, pages 243–251, September 2011
How to Cite
Mackey, E. and Dodd, K. (2011), Evaluation and effectiveness of pain recognition and management training for staff working in learning disability services. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 39: 243–251. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3156.2010.00661.x
- Issue published online: 4 AUG 2011
- Article first published online: 27 DEC 2010
- Health action plans;
- pain management;
- pain recognition;
- people with learning disabilities;
- residential services;
- staff training
- •Managers of learning disability services in Surrey were invited to come to training on pain recognition and management.
- •The managers were asked how they recognised pain and how they managed pain for people with learning disabilities, before and 3–5 months after training.
- •We found that after training more services were using communication aids and pain recognition tools and had included information about pain in their service users’ health action plans.
- •People with learning disabilities should have their pain recognised and managed effectively. Staff training helps services to be more aware of pain and improves the range of methods used.
Following Beacroft & Dodd’s (2009) audit of pain recognition and management within learning disability services in Surrey, it was recommended that learning disability services should receive training in pain recognition and management. Two hundred and seventy-five services were invited to participate, of which 197 services in Surrey accepted and attended pain training. This is a 72% attendance rate. Training covered pain thresholds, pain recognition and management, health action plans and medicines policies. At the end of training and at follow-up (3–5 months later), attendees were asked about their service’s management of pain. At the follow-up, it was found that significantly more services were using communication tools such as picture scales [Dodd & Brunker (1999) Feeling Poorly. Brighton, Pavilion Publishing] and more pain recognition tools such as the Abbey pain scale [Abbey et al. (2004) Int J Palliat Nurs, 10, 6–13] and the Disability Distress Assessment Tool [Regnard et al. (2007) J Intellect Disabil Res, 51, 277–292]. Use of pain management strategies did not change significantly. There was a significant increase in the number of services including information on how a person displays pain, the possible causes of pain and how a person likes their pain managed in their health action plan. More services were now reviewing health action plans at least 6 monthly and sharing them with other services that the person with learning disabilities uses. Significantly more services’ medicine policies now specifically mention pain.