Here you go!
Pain scales are used to determine how much pain a patient is in. Unfortunately, you or I cannot feel for a patient, and for the most part pain is subjective. You can document the patients actions, which helps......ecspecially if the patient's ratings seem inaccurate. Pain scales are based on a 1-10 scale. Tell the patient, if 10 is equivilent to the worst pain of your life, and zero is equivilent to no pain, how bad is it? That gives you an idea and anyone reveiwing the chart how bad it is, by perception of the patient.
Unfortunately, not everybodys pain tolerance is the same. So with the usage of the pain scale, it's important to document objective findings.
Example: If a patient states it's a "10", and they tell you this laughing, and with a smile on their face, then document it. Clearly in a legal situation, a patient smiling and laughing does not indicate a "10". If the patient tells you a "5", and is crying, moaning, and grimmacing, clearly it tells you that the pain may be a "5", or in reality much worse. The scale alone is useless. Unfortunately, the JCHAO is focusing on the treatment of pain currently, and over the next year or two. So documentation of objective findings, as well as use of the pain scale is important.
Our Hospital uses 2 pain scales, out of (McCaffery M, Pasero C: Pain; Clinical manual, p. 67, 1999, Mosby, Inc. This is excellent, in case they don't speak English (or your language), because it utilizes smiley faces to frown faces with tears, as well as a number/color coded pain scale to get the info!!!!!!