Introduction: Persons with dementia, impaired cognitive functions and altered perception, are unable to describe their pain; as a result, their pain is incorrectly assessed and treated. Pain intensity is assessed using pain assessment instruments, which have been developed by observing patients' non-verbal communication. More than 17 instruments are currently available for assessing pain in persons with dementia, and new ones are being developed. Nurses have an important role in assessing pain with the help of instruments. Purpose: The purpose of the diploma thesis is to present the challenges encountered when assessing pain in persons with dementia. I furthermore, we wanted to determine which instruments for assessing pain in persons with dementia are most often used in clinical settings around the world and to draw a comparison. Methods: The diploma thesis uses a descriptive method with a review of foreign and Slovenian literature. The literature was searched in the English language using the following search terms: assessing pain AND assessing pain instruments AND dementia AND nurse, namely in the databases CINAHL, MEDLINE and COBIB.SI. The analysis included 60 sources that matched the inclusion criteria: relevance, topicality and credibility. Results: Pain assessment instruments are used for persons with dementia who are unable to describe their pain. Different instruments suitable for persons with dementia are being used in clinical settings. The two instruments most often used are PAINAD and PACSLAC II. The instrument ALGOPLUS is a new instrument for assessing acute pain. The instrument PAIC 15 has been developed recently but it is still in the testing phase. Experts involved in the production of pain assessment tools are developing a universal tool that will be valid and useful worldwide. Besides educated nurses, other medical experts who deal with patients will have to become involved in the assessment of pain using instruments. Discussion and conclusion: The consequences of unrecognized pain in persons with dementia are various personality disorders, depression, apathy and eating disorders. Due to an incorrect assessment of pain, persons with dementia are taking inappropriate amounts of analgesics and antipsychotics. We must advocate too use valid tools as are in used around the world. Nurses play a key role in the use of such instrument; they must know how to use the tool designed for assessing pain in persons with dementia.
Keywords: pain, persons with dementia, pain assessment instrument, nurse