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Dignity in care: Pain management

This film reminds us that pain levels vary for every individual. It says that medication is important but that it isn’t always appropriate and sometimes it shouldn’t be a first step. The film also looks at how alternative therapies, massages and the simple use of moisturiser to keep the skin hydrated, can make a big difference in alleviating some of the pain that people have.

Paul is featured having Reiki treatment at St Cuthbert’s hospice, Durham, to support him with his Parkinson’s; on the film he says ‘it’s like “magic”’ because the Reiki makes him feel relaxed and stable. The film also looks at how it’s important to communicate properly so that people with, for instance, dementia and learning disabilities, can be supported to tell staff how they are dealing with any pain issues they have.

Messages for practice

  • People should not have to live with pain when they don’t always have to. It’s not necessarily part of the ageing process. Medication is available and should be used appropriately.
  • People with communication problems can’t always let someone know when they’re in pain.
  • It’s important that care staff are able to spot non-verbal signs that someone is in pain.
  • There are many non-medical responses that can help relieve pain.

Who will find it useful?

Care staff, managers, GPs, nurses, commissioners, people who use services and their family carers or friends who are carers.