New technology assisting pain relief for aged care residents

By Carinity

Carinity Clinical Nurse Consultant
Carinity Clinical Nurse Consultant Ramandeep Gill uses the PainChek app to scan resident Margaret Webley’s face.

Carinity is at the forefront of using new world-first technology that is helping to identify pain in older people.

Nurses at Carinity’s Hilltop and Wishart Gardens residential aged care communities in Brisbane have been utilising the PainChek device during its pilot program.

Hilltop and Wishart Gardens are amongst the first aged care sites in Australia to trial the technology, which uses facial recognition technology to identify and gauge the severity of pain in seniors.

Carinity Aged Care Regional Manager Larissa Gear says the pain assessment medical device, which can be used on smart phones and tablets, “strengthens the assessment process” for alleviating pain suffered by aged care residents.

Larissa says PainChek is particularly useful when treating residents with conditions such as Alzheimer’s who may not be able to verbalise or describe their discomfort.

“Pain can be difficult to assess. PainChek gives a digital analysis of facial expressions, scanning the face for pain indicators,” Larissa says.

“For assisting someone suffering pain who has dementia and may not be able to communicate about that pain, it is a fantastic tool to have.

“We obviously have our other processes but it’s another assessment tool that we can use to gauge if a resident is in pain. Our aim is for no resident to be experiencing unrelieved pain.”

The Federal Government recently announced $5 million in funding to make PainChek available to all aged care sites across Australia for a one-year trial.

About Carinity
Since 1949, Carinity as an outreach of Queensland Baptists has been making a real difference in people’s lives through comprehensive and integrated community services. These include caring for the frail aged in their homes or in integrated seniors’ communities, helping families and young people through difficult times, and supporting people with disability.

Carinity also provides shelters for homeless youth, alternative education for teenagers who struggle in traditional schools, and prison and hospital chaplaincy.

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