This article reports the findings of an audit carried out in Surrey to look at pain recognition and management with people with learning disabilities.
The authors looked at what people with learning disabilities understood and experienced when they had pain, compared to what was reported as good practice in the literature.
The authors found that people with learning disabilities struggled to discuss pain effectively. They found little use of available communication aids. They found that people with learning disabilities had to rely on others to deal with their pain.
In common with other studies, the authors found that the most response to pain was to refer the person to the doctor. People were often not offered pain control medication by staff and other non- medication strategies to manage pain were rarely offered.
The authors report that staff in Surrey have been using the results of the audit to develop accessible information booklets on pain recognition and management to be used by people with disabilities, their paid supporters and family members. Organisations have also been developing and rolling out training for staff on recognising and responding to pain.
‘I Feel Pain’– audit of communication skills and understanding of pain and health needs with people with learning disabilities Beacroft, M. & Dodd, K. in British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 39: 139–147.