University of Regina (Saskatchewan)
Development of an Automated System for Pain Detection and Monitoring in Older Adults with Dementia
Although pain is very frequent in older populations, older adults are often undertreated for pain. This problem is especially serious for older persons who have severe dementia (e.g., Alzheimer’s Disease), live in nursing homes and cannot report their pain because of cognitive impairments that accompany dementia. Nursing staff acknowledge the challenges of effectively recognizing and monitoring pain in this population. Effective approaches to pain assessment for people with dementia, based on observation of specific pain behaviours (e.g., certain grimaces), are available but nursing homes often lack the human resources and, sometimes, expertise to use these assessment approaches on a regular basis. The goal of this project is to develop and evaluate an affordable technology that will facilitate regular pain assessment with minimal resources, based on a list of valid pain-related behaviours. In this phase of our program, we will collect a realistic data set of video-recorded pain expressions in older adults with dementia. We will then experimentally identify technical requirements (e.g., camera placement, viewing angle, modification to existing computer algorithms) necessary for effective pain detection, through an unobtrusive electronic vision system, in older adults with dementia. Ultimately, such technology will lead to improved pain assessment and consequently better care and quality of life for persons with dementia.