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Pain Manag Nurs. 2006 Sep;7(3):117-25.

Evaluation of the Revised Faces Pain Scale, Verbal Descriptor Scale, Numeric Rating Scale, and Iowa Pain Thermometer in older minority adults.

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Department of Nursing, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, Georgia 30118, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine the reliability and validity of selected pain intensity scales including the Faces Pain Scale Revised (FPS-R), Verbal Descriptor Scale (VDS), Numeric Rating Scale (NRS), and Iowa Pain Thermometer (IPT) with a cognitively impaired minority sample. A descriptive correlational design was used, and a convenience sample of 68 participants, admitted to acute care facilities in the South, with an average Mini Mental Status Exam score of 23 comprised the sample. Thirty-two percent of the participants were males, and 68% were females. The majority (74%) of the sample consisted of African-American participants with the exception that 16% were Hispanic and 10% were Asian. An overwhelming majority of participants were able to use all of the tools. Concurrent validity was supported with correlations ranging from 0.56 to 0.90. The lowest correlations were found between the FPS-R and the other scales, suggesting that the FPS-R may be measuring a broader construct incorporating pain. Test-retest reliability was supported with coefficients ranging from 0.77 to 0.89. In terms of pain scale preference, the Numeric Rating Scale (33%) was the preferred scale in the cognitively intact group and the FPS-R (54%) was the preferred scale in the cognitively impaired group. When race and cognitive status were considered, African-Americans and Hispanics preferred the FPS-R. Severely, moderately, and mildly impaired participants also preferred the FPS-R. The findings of this study support the use of these scales with older cognitively impaired minority adults.

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