Quote from 5228shamrock
What pain scale do you use for your patients? Do you feel that it is a good tool? We need to find something that assesses pain better than the smiley faces and frowny faces.
Personally, I think that faces pain scales work fine for the intended patient populations, and the research I've looked at seem to support that they are valid and reliable. Have you looked at the available research on pain scales?
Pain scales might not be perfect but since we actually don't have a reliable way to objectively "measure" how much pain a patient is experiencing
, they are in my opinion a useful tool.
Who are your patients OP? Pediatric (younger or older?), adults, patients with dementia?
There are different faces pain scales. From reading your and soutthpaw's posts, I suspect you're using Wong-Baker's scale or something similar?
Instructions for Use - Wong-Baker FACES Foundation
Personally, I use FPS-R when the use of a scale with faces is appropriate.
Faces Pain Scale - Revised Home - IASP
With both scales it's important that you ask the question/give instructions the correct way when you show the scales to your patients.
I personally prefer the FPS-R since it doesn't show happy and sad faces, but shows a more neutral baseline one which changes to express an increasing amount of discomfort/pain.
I guess it's possible/conceivable that the faces with feelings/affect like happiness and sadness might be a confounding factor that affects how pain intensity
is reported by the patient (but that's just me speculating).
I don't like the faces either. I find that most people rate their pain high with this scale. We often get folks who say their pain is 8 or 10, but they have full ROM, no objective findings, and are laughing.
Now I'm really curious about who your patients are. My experience is of course only anecdotal and I don't normally work pediatrics, but I have done so on occasion and I've found the faces pain scales useful. If the child rated a high "number" when I've assessed them, they almost always rated a lower number (less pain) a while after I'd administered pain medications.