Thursday, January 28, 2016

Pain scale

Any of you that have been in the hospital or had outpatient surgery have probably had the pain scale question asked of you.  We have to ask it frequently, it is also used on pain scale paperwork that has to be done on each patient every 3 months.
The question is:  "Rate your pain on a scale of 1-10, with 0 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain you can imagine".
We rarely hear 0, frequently hear 6 or 7, but almost just as frequently are told 10.  The problem is, these same people who say 10, may often continue to talk and laugh with no apparent issues and we need to medicate them according to what they say, not how they appear.  I know that I can't judge someone else's pain, but I also know that most people are unable to talk, much less laugh through intense pain.
For that reason, I thought this diagram was hilarious when I saw someone (another nurse) post it on FB.  I bet we would get more realistic numbers if we used this!

Pretty good, right?


Brenda said...

That would definitely narrow it down! I remember my MIL catching on with the pain and really liking her morphine. She would get so mad at me when I would suggest Tylenol first. It was a struggle as the caregiver to know when her pain was exaggerated or real.

Jenny said...

I can't tell you how many times I sat in depositions and the "injured" party sat there cool as you please, testifying that their current pain was at a 10, that they could not sit, stand, or lie down, and that due to their grievous injury (always somebody else's fault, hence the lawsuit), they could no longer rake leaves. This invariably made them sad. And like your patients, while swearing their pain was excruciating, these folks would sit in a relaxed and comfortable fashion, talking for hours about themselves. I would simply marvel at the capacity of human beings to deceive themselves.

As to your chart, I admit to being perpetually stuck on number 7, haaahaha. xoxo

Arlene Grimm said...

I remember reading the book, The Fault in Our Stars, where the teen age girl has cancer and she refused to ever tell the nurse it was a ten because she was saving it. We did not use this pain rating when I was a nurse but I think it is a good way to determine pain levels. The little chart is funny!! Like you, I would have patients tell me they were in extreme pain but it idd not look that way to me...but hey I was just the nurse!!

Linda Eller said...

Oh yes, how well I know the pain scale. Every time I take Jim to the dr., it is there to complete. It is hard to know who is masking their pain or are they really feeling as bad as a 10. It is good tho, to determine what to do next for that pain. Have a nice Friday and weekend.

Patsy said...

When I have been ask this I have a hard time
with my answer. I want to say well it just hurts.
If it was a 10 I don't think I could talk to them.
I would maybe roll my eyes!!!

Carrie B. said...

Haha!! Wish I'd had this when I was still working in health care. The nurses I worked with would have LOVED this!! ;)
Thanks for the giggle and happy weekend to you Sweetie!! xoxo

Sally said...

That's pretty funny, Mari. And, it reminds me of when I was working and would see people who went out on disability claiming their pain was off the chart and would somehow get a doctor to agree. What they didn't know? Workman's comp kept pretty good tabs, and would often find people collecting who they would see doing very strenuous work at home; i.e. lifting weights or pitching hay. Yeah, they didn't always get caught but I remember a couple who did.


Cherdecor said...

I know that this chart is just a cartoon for fun, but where is the chart that tells you what your pain would be like at each number? No one has any idea what to say when asked to rate their pain. I want to ask the question, "compared to what?"

Amy at love made my home said...

Made me laugh! xx

Simply Linda said...

Cute!!! Thanks for the giggles, have a beautiful day.

Terri D said...

Love this! I think we could use one for men and one for women though, because women have a higher pain threshold (I believe). I know sometimes I shake my head when Joe says his pain is 8 or 9, but he is not showing any signs of being in paid...still talking, not doubled over, etc. I always remind him a 10 is having your leg cut off with no anesthesia.

Sparky said...

Love the sign. It's perfect for defining pain levels. I remember many days of "8" or even "9" before my Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery.
Hope your day is blessed. ~:)

Ceil said...

HI Mari! Oh yes, this would be VERY helpful! I have also seen pain scale charts with schematic smiley faces. This is probably much more descriptive.
You never know if people can just handle their pain better, or if they have no idea what the numbers mean. It's all so subjective. I suppose saying pain is a '10' gets them a little more attention?
Keep that sense of humor my friend. It's needed to keep your sanity :)