Methods of pain assessment in adult intensive care unit patients - Polish version of the CPOT (Critical Care Pain Observation Tool) and BPS (Behavioral Pain Scale)

Anaesthesiol Intensive Ther. 2017;49(1):66-72. doi: 10.5603/AIT.2017.0010.


Many patients treated in the intensive care unit (ICU) experience pain that is a source of suffering and leaves a longterm imprint (chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder). Nearly 30% of patients experience pain at rest, while the percentage increases to 50% during nursing procedures. Pain in ICU patients can be divided into four categories: continuous ICU treatment-related pain/discomfort, acute illness-related pain, intermittent procedural pain and pre-existing chronic pain present before ICU admission. As daily nursing procedures and interventions performed in the ICU may be a potential source of pain, it is crucial to use simple pain monitoring tools. The assessment of pain intensity in ICU patients remains an everyday challenge for clinicians, especially in sedated, intubated and mechanically ventilated patients. Regular assessment of pain intensity leads to improved outcome and better quality of life of patients in the ICU and after discharge from ICU. The gold standard in pain evaluation is patient self-reporting, which is not always possible. Current research shows that the two tools best validated for patients unable to self-report pain are the Behavioral Pain Scale (BPS) and the Critical Care Pain Observation Tool (CPOT). Although international guidelines recommend the use of validated tools for pain evaluation, they underline the need for translation into a given language. The authors of this publication obtained an official agreement from the authors of the two behavioral scales - CPOT and BPS - for translation into Polish. Validation of these tools in the Polish population will aid their wider use in pain assessment in ICUs in Poland.

Keywords: BPS; CPOT; assessment; behavioural scales; critical care; pain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Critical Care / methods
  • Critical Illness
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Language
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Poland
  • Quality of Life