Pain in Dementia - Future Directions
The 7th International Congress of Pain in Dementia gathered leading researchers on dementia in Bergen, Norway. The goal was to share knowledge, raise awareness and find solutions to challenges related to pain in people with dementia.
Dementia affects approximately 10 million people in Europe, and the number is expected to double every 20 years in the future. In Norway one third of people with dementia live in nursing homes.
The need for improved pain assessment and treatment in patients in dementia has been recognized for many years. Loss of cognitive and communicative abilities makes assessment of pain intensity difficult, and patients remain at high risk for undiagnosed and untreated pain. As many as six out of ten nursing home patients with dementia experience pain daily. When dementia and pain concur, their impact on society multiplies and asks for evidence-based, translational and transnational solutions.
The 24th and 25th of April, Europe’s leading researchers on dementia gathered in Bergen, Norway, during the 7th International Congress of Pain in Dementia (PDF). The congress was organized by the European COST Action (TD1005) group, supported by the University of Bergen (UiB), Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care (IGS) and Centre for Elderly and Nursing Home Medicine (SEFAS).
COST-Action is a multidisciplinary group of international researchers from 16 European countries, Australia and USA with focus on pain in dementia, palliative care, psychometric properties, laboratory pain research, clinical studies, and implementation. Since 2011, it has been the goal to improve pain recognition and management and to develop an international agreed tool to assess pain in people with dementia. The congress was aimed at researchers in elderly care medicine, as well as for those working in primary care in the municipalities.
The official program covered a wide range of topics related to pain and dementia, examples of which are «Challenging behavior and pain in dementia: what can nurses do?», «Different tools in assessing pain and discomfort in dementia», «assessing the efficacy of pain treatment», «Oro-facial pain and the development of an oro-facial pain assessment instrument» and «Sleep and pain».
Speakers with a high number of publications in peer-reviewed international scientific journals, famous for their responsibility and leadership in large research projects, participated. They presented their recent research and gave a better understanding of the challenges related to pain assessment, treatment and the advances in dementia-related research.
A debate on future directions lead by professor Wilco Achterberg allowed the participants to give their thoughts on the theme «Towards an evidence based focus in nursing homes – an essential step for quality of care?»
The congress gathered 130 national and international participants.