Assessment of pain in people living with dementia at the end of life: a systematic review

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Background: People with dementia may not receive the same quality of palliative care as those with other life-limiting conditions, particularly at end of life (EOL).

Aims: To understand the best way to examine pain for people with dementia.

Methods: A systematic review of tools to assess pain in patients with dementia near the end of life, PubMed, Medline, Embase, (EBSCO Host) CINAHL Plus, Web of Science, Psycinfo, PsycArticles and Scopus were searched.

Findings: 15
articles were identified which were synthesised qualitatively.

Conclusion: There are a range of pain assessment tools which are appropriate for use for people with dementia, but 15 studies used a formal tool. A more robust approach is needed to improve the quality of research for measurement and management of pain in this population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-85
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Palliative Nursing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements: This work was supported by funding from the Administrative Data Research Centre-NI (ADRC-NI) funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 MA Healthcare Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Dementia
  • End of life
  • Pain assessment
  • Pain assessment tools
  • Palliative care
  • Advanced and Specialised Nursing
  • Pain
  • Humans
  • Death
  • Palliative Care
  • Terminal Care
  • Pain Measurement


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