Pain management skills of regional nurses caring for older people with Dementia: A needs analysis
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An exploratory survey of the pain management education needs of 197 nurses working with older people with dementia was undertaken in a regional area of Queensland, Australia. The analysis indicated that nurses in this setting might not have the knowledge base to manage pain effectively; and that respondents have essentially negative perceptions of the availability and appropriateness of current pain management education programs. Consistent with non-metropolitan nurses generally, respondents expressed a preference for pain management education that had a significant face-to-face component allied with ongoing mentorship and support on completion of the program. The obstacles to attending such programs were also typical of the problems facing regional and rural nurses throughout Australia. These were identified as: inability to pay for courses; lack of information on what is available; distance to travel to education; and a perceived lack of employer support due to an inability to replace those staff attending education. Positive aspects include the degree to which participants were responsive and interested in dementia pain management and their access to, and acceptance of, non-medical pain therapies. The findings suggest a definite need for a dementia pain management program for aged care nurses, specifically tailored to their needs and to the constraints of the regional practice setting.