Post-Operative Pain Management Practices in Patients with Dementia - The Current Situation in Finland

Maija Rantala*, 1, Päivi Kankkunen1, Tarja Kvist1, Sirpa Hartikainen2
1 Department of Nursing Science, Kuopio Campus, University of Eastern Finland, Finland
2 Department of Clinical Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, Kuopio Campus, University of Eastern Finland, Finland

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© Rantala et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Nursing Science, Kuopio Campus, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 1627FIN-70211 Kuopio, Finland; Tel: +358408401515; E-mail:


The aim of this study is to describe current post-operative pain management practices for patients with dementia and hip fracture in Finland. Older adults with hip fracture are at high risk of under treatment for pain, especially if they also have a cognitive disorder at the stage of dementia. Previous studies have provided limited information about the quality of acute pain treatment for persons with dementia. In this study data concerning current pain management practices was collected by questionnaire from 333 nursing staff. They worked in surgical wards of seven universities and ten city-centre hospitals. The response rate to the questionnaire was 53%. The data was analysed using factor analysis and parametric methods. Half the respondents (53%) considered that post-operative pain management was sufficient for patients with dementia. Less than one third of respondent nurses reported that pain scales were in use on their unit: the most commonly used scale was VAS. The use of pain scales was significantly related to the respondents’ opinion of the sufficiency of post-operative pain management in this patient group (p<0.001). The findings can be utilised in nursing practice and research when planning suitable complementary educational interventions for nursing staff of surgical wards. Further research is needed to explain the current situation of pain management practices from the viewpoint of patients with dementia.

Keywords: Pain, dementia, hip fractures, post-operative pain, nursing staff.