In 2009, researchers in Surrey completed an audit of pain recognition and management within the learning disability services there. One of the key recommendations from that audit was that staff in learning disability services should receive training in pain recognition and management.
As a result, nearly 200 services in the locality (from an invitation list of 275 took part in a staff training programme. The training covered pain thresholds, pain recognition and management, health action plans and medicines policies. Measures were taken immediately after the training and at 3–5 months follow-up.
At follow-up, the team found significantly more services using communication tools, pain recognition tools and the Disability Distress Assessment Tool. However, they found that the use of pain management strategies did not change significantly.
There was also an increase in the number of health action plans showing information on how a person displays pain, possible causes of pain and the way in which the person likes their pain managed.
It was also found that the medicine policy in significantly more services than before the audit now specifically mentioned pain.
Evaluation and effectiveness of pain recognition and management training for staff working in learning disability services, Mackey, E. & Dodd, K., in British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 39: 243–251