Sample Literature Review
For Nursing Students
Short, R. (2008). Assessing pain. Nursing Older People, 20(4), 16-18. Retrieved from
Academic Search Premier database.
Purpose: The article urges nurses to make the national guideline, The Assessment of Pain
in Older People, part of their personal practice and carry with them the simple tools to
Summary: The guideline aids the assessment of pain in older people whether they can
communicate with their caregivers or not. The guide addresses several areas including 1;
Pain awareness – 45 – 83% of patients have pain but may be unable or reluctant to report
it. 2) Pain inquiry – asking the patient if they are sore, or aching, or hurting anywhere, 3)
Pain location – ask the patient to point to the area affected by pain; 4) Pain intensity --
numerical rated scale or verbal descriptors are easily accepted by adults. Pain intensity is
crucial to determine treatment success or failure; 5) Communication – hearing or sight
problems may require special considerations in communication. People with
communication problems need additional help through adapted tools and help from
skilled professionals, such as speech therapists. When severe cognitive impairment is
present pain behaviors (such as body movements, facial expressions, and vocalizations)
can be specific to a patient. Personal experience by caregivers and family members help
to interpret the meaning of these behaviors.
Conclusion: Nurses who work with the elderly need to download and read specific
guidelines, extract some of the tools, keep them for daily use and as a reminder of good
practice for themselves. These guidelines should be kept with the nurse, not tacked on a
wall in the nurse’s lounge.
Feelings & Thoughts: The main goal in geriatric nursing is to make the client comfortable
and assure them that their comfort is important. Proper pain assessment and the
information gathered are crucial to effective treatment. Two barriers exist in the message
getting through – nurse awareness and staff time to implement it.
Agree/Disagree: I agree that pain assessment is important to making patients
comfortable and to create a baseline from which to test the effectiveness of treatment. I
learned what assessment guidelines and techniques should be used in nursing practice
with elderly patients.
Was it Worthwhile: The article contained worthwhile, practical information that would
be useful on a daily basis in working with elderly patients.
Information Usefulness to me: the article is very useful in my studies and career path.
Recommendations to others: this article should be required reading for every nurse in
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