Pain Assessment in the Patient Unable to Self-Report: Clinical Practice Recommendations in Support of the ASPMN 2019 Position Statement

Keela Herr*, Patrick J. Coyne, Elizabeth Ely, Céline Gélinas, Renee C.B. Manworren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Pain is a subjective experience, unfortunately, some patients cannot provide a self-report of pain verbally, in writing, or by other means. In patients who are unable to self-report pain, other strategies must be used to infer pain and evaluate interventions. In support of the ASPMN position statement “Pain Assessment in the Patient Unable to Self-Report”, this paper provides clinical practice recommendations for five populations in which difficulty communicating pain often exists: neonates, toddlers and young children, persons with intellectual disabilities, critically ill/unconscious patients, older adults with advanced dementia, and patients at the end of life. Nurses are integral to ensuring assessment and treatment of these vulnerable populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-417
Number of pages14
JournalPain Management Nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing

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