Pain is a subjective experience, unfortunately, some patients cannot provide a self-report of pain verbally, in writing, or by other means. In patients who are unable to self-report pain, other strategies must be used to infer pain and evaluate interventions. In support of the ASPMN position statement "Pain Assessment in the Patient Unable to Self-Report", this paper provides clinical practice recommendations for five populations in which difficulty communicating pain often exists: neonates, toddlers and young children, persons with intellectual disabilities, critically ill/unconscious patients, older adults with advanced dementia, and patients at the end of life. Nurses are integral to ensuring assessment and treatment of these vulnerable populations.
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