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Amspoker AB, Snow AL, Renn BN, Block P, Pickens S, Morgan RO, Kunik ME. Patient Versus Informal Caregiver Proxy Reports of Pain Interference in Persons With Dementia. Journal of applied gerontology : the official journal of the Southern Gerontological Society. 2021 Apr 1; 40(4):414-422.
Pain assessment and treatment is challenging among persons with dementia (PWDs). To better understand reports of pain interference, we examined ratings made by PWDs, as well as corresponding ratings about PWDs, as reported by the caregiver. We aimed to assess alignment between and predictors of caregiver and PWD report of pain interference. The sample consisted of 203 veterans with pain and mild to moderately severe dementia and an informal caregiver. Most PWDs and their caregivers reported at least some pain interference and similar levels of pain interference. PWDs with greater cognitive impairment reported less pain interference, whereas caregivers who perceived the PWD to have greater depression reported more pain interference. PWD and caregiver characteristics were differentially associated with PWD versus caregiver report of pain interference. Results suggest the importance of caregiver reports to inform assessment, as well as factors complicating assessment. As one ages, the risk of developing both dementia and pain increases substantially (Scherder et al., 2009). It is estimated that 30% to 50% of persons with dementia (PWDs) experience persistent pain, a complex multifactor problem (Corbett et al., 2014). Despite the high prevalence of pain among older adults with dementia, and major advances in pain management, pain often remains unrecognized or undertreated (Hodgson et al., 2014).