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Pain Assessment

Minimising trauma and pain during dressing changes cannot be achieved in isolation. Pain at dressing changes is just one factor in the patient's total wound-related pain experience, and must be looked at in context. It is therefore essential to:

  • Obtain a detailed pain history, bearing in mind that:
    • Chronic wounds may cause heightened sensitivity in both the wound and surrounding skin
    • Wound pain may get progressively worse and more generalised with time
  • Assess pain before, during and after each dressing change, to give a clear picture of how much pain is due to the procedure
  • Identify factors which may affect how the patient appears to react
    • General anxiety and distress can make pain worse
  • Identify causes of pain from any underlying medical condition and make appropriate interventions

Overall and wound-specific pain should be continually monitored and the patient should be involved in all decisions concerning pain management.

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