Your senior may be in a unique situation now. She may have decided to pull back on medical treatments, which can mean that she’s dealing with an increase in pain levels. She could also be experiencing worsening pain because it’s just getting worse. Regardless, one tool you can use right away is a pain diary.
Make the Diary Accessible
To truly be helpful, the pain diary that you’re helping your senior to keep needs to be accessible to everyone who is helping her. That is information you’re going to want to share with her doctor, of course, but sharing it with hospice care providers is helpful, too. All of your senior’s medical providers can work together in order to develop a plan to manage the pain she’s experiencing.
Choose a Pain Scale to Use
Pain is difficult to measure from the outside looking in. You may fully realize that your senior is experiencing pain, but in order to help her, you need to understand how much pain she’s feeling. One of the ways to do that is by using a pain scale. This can be as simple as ranking pain from one to ten, with one being absolutely no pain and ten being the worst pain ever.
Sometimes that’s difficult to use, though, or your senior may be non-verbal. There are other pain scales, like one that uses pictures of faces to indicate pain levels. Choose one that works for your senior.
Make the Diary Simple to Use
If the diary is too complicated for you and for other people to use, it’s going to fall by the wayside very quickly. The key to not experiencing that problem is to make the diary as simple as you can. Just a spiral notebook with notes kept for each day can be plenty. You’re not trying to tally up anything. You’re really just trying to keep a record that helps you see what’s happening.
Include Some Details, Though
As simple as you want this to be, the diary also needs to contain some detailed information. You don’t have to write a huge entry every time but do make sure you include details about how much pain your senior is in, what you’ve done to try to alleviate the pain, and whether it subsided. Start and end times are useful pieces of information, as well as what else might have happened around the time that the pain began.
Pain can be a major problem at the end of your senior’s life. Chronic issues often flare up and combine, creating bigger situations than they used to be. Hospice care can help you and your elderly family member to find treatment options that can ease her discomfort.