Numerical Rating Scale for Pain

2012 June 14
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It should be the slave; not the master

It’s true that most of us would like to have pain measured as the fifth vital sign. But, is there a down side to it?

Please see the article, What’s in a Number? (Medscape). It quotes the Hastings Center Report, giving a word of warning – that blind rating of pain may:

… sell short empathy, and thus, the very core of caregiving

Well, we in developing countries do not have to worry about this, do we?

Right now our problem is that pain is not seen as a problem at all and ignored.

When we do eventually get around to monitoring pain, then we need to remember that pain is not something to be measured mechanically like the room temperature, but to be explored sensitively, recognizing the suffering behind a number.

(full text is here for those without online journal access)

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