Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Pain is common in the older adult as they continue to age regardless of their cognitive ability . Whether the older adult resides in the community, in a nursing facility or is hospitalized, pain is prevalent in this population. The assessment and management of pain in the older adult with cognitive impaim1ent is a challenge for those in healthcare. Based on the severity of the dementia, the older adult may not be able to verbalize or describe their pain. Therefore, it is vital that healthcare providers are able to identify pain in th is population. Observational assessment scales, such as the Abbey Pain Scale, CNP!, Doloplus-2, PAINAD, PACSLAC and NOPPAIN, can be utilized to better recognize pain in the older adult with cognitive impaim1ent. This paper set out to answer the following questions: Is pain properly assessed in the older adult with dementia? and Which observational tools are found to be effective in the older adult with dementia? Throughout this paper, observational assessment scales will be evaluated and critiqued. Behavioral indicators of pain are also introduced. Implementations for healthcare providers and the development of an educational project will be discussed