Evidence-based strategies for pain reduction and a DICE suggestion from a community care partner

Hi everyone,

First off, thank you to Stella Maris of MD for sharing this great example of DICE with us:

 D- Resident urinating in a cup in the dining room and on the floor in the corner of his room.

I- Resident is a retired truck driver and would urinate in empty bottles/ cups in the cab of his truck while traveling long distances.

C- Staff have identified the resident’s cues when needing to go to the bathroom. He seeks out cups and heads toward any corner in the dining room.  Staff redirects resident to bathroom which has a bright colored sign on the door indicating it is the bathroom.

Staff also have placed a urinal next to his bed to cue him to use it when needing to urinate at night.

E- Resident has decreased episodes of public from daily occurrences to 1-2 times a week.

We invite you all to send us your examples too. You’ll win a gift for your residents if you do!

Next, since we discussed identifying and assessing pain in residents with dementia last week, this week we are focusing on some pain interventions. The following link is to a list of evidence-based nonpharmacologic interventions for pain that you may find helpful. It was prepared by Linda Keilman, DNP, GNP-BC of Michigan State University, College of Nursing:

https://www.nhqualitycampaign.org/files/Guide_to_Evidence-based_NonPharmacologic_Interventions_for_Pain.pdf

Dr. Keilman notes that we should address pain with the following outcomes in mind:

  • Improvement in quality of life
  • Maintaining function (physical, emotional, spiritual)
  • Maintaining cognition
  • Alleviating or reducing pain through a combination of medication and alternative interventions

Keilman, Linda (2015). Compendium of Evidence-Based Nonpharmacologic Interventions for Pain in Older Adults. Copyright 2015 by LJKeilman, East Lansing: Michigan State University, College of Nursing.

 Some of the many pain interventions to consider in addition to traditional pain medications such as NSAIDS and acetaminophens include:

  • environment modifications such as adjusting room temperature, lighting and sounds
  • cold or heat therapy (icy-hot lotions, like those with Lidoderm, can be helpful and applied often)
  • exercise
  • controlled breathing
  • music therapy
  • art therapy
  • pet visits
  • distraction or diversion

 Effective interventions will vary by person, so you may need to try several different things before finding an intervention that works for a resident. Considering the many negative physical and emotional consequences for a person in pain, we can all agree that these interventions are well worth the effort.

Have a great week!

Combating combative behavior

Here’s a short and sweet—and very practical—tidbit that one of our intervention nurses shared:

In the past when staff have exhausted all approaches/interventions to stop or decrease a resident with combative behavior, I have cut a pool noodle in half or thirds and had the resident hold it in each hand.  I’ve also given the resident gum to chew in order prevent biting the staff.

This beats the alternative of heavily medicating.

Best practice: Oral care

Oral care is extremely important for everyone, and older adults are no exception. Yet sometimes, after we help a behaviorally challenging resident get bathed and dressed, proper oral care can become an afterthought. It can also be one of the most difficult personal care activities to have a resident perform. Here are some tips to help you work with a resident with BPSD who needs assistance with oral care:

  • If a resident is reluctant to brush her teeth or refuses when you initially ask, try to distract her with another brief enjoyable activity or conversation and then try again.
  • Have supplies ready before you begin: toothbrush, toothpaste, cup, and mouthwash if using.
  • If a resident will not open her mouth, ask her to say “eeeee” as this will naturally get her to open her mouth enough to sneak in a toothbrush. Or you can try singing together and sneak in the toothbrush then.
  • Since teeth brushing can feel invasive and even threatening when done by a caregiver, encourage independence in this task. By role modeling in front of a mirror, while you stand beside the resident, you can cue the resident to engage in the task without having to touch him/her.
  • If a resident is physically unable to brush his/her teeth independently, use the hand-under-hand technique so the resident is still participating in the activity with you and can maintain a sense of control. If the resident can’t hold the brush or resists, shake hands with him, turn your hand palm up so they only see their hand, use your skill fingers (thumb and first two fingers to hold the toothbrush and you can guide it in.  Those with significant dementia think they are doing it rather than you.  If a resident is able to hold the toothbrush and just needs some guidance, you can simply place your hand over their hand and help guide them.
  • Some people don’t do well in the bathroom. Considering having residents brush their teeth while sitting on their bed.
  • Lastly, keep in mind that the toothpaste is the least important factor. The friction from a damp toothbrush is the most important, and every brush helps!

This 3-minute video illustrates these tricks of the trade in action: http://www.functionfocusedcare.org/oral-care