Let’s face it, if the app reduces pain it’s a win

By Kimberley Price

WHARPARILLA Lodge has implemented an app to help nurses diagnose pain.

The Echuca aged care facility is the second in regional Victoria to introduce PainChek for treating pain.

For residents who are non-verbal — which includes many dementia sufferers — the app can not only determine whether they are suffering pain but also guide staff through correct treatment.

Senior clinical consultant Dawn Kerr said with its three-second facial analysis using artificial intelligence, PainChek could identify micro-expressions in the face which indicate pain.

And given 93 per cent of elderly residents in aged care facilities experience some sort of pain it should prove invaluable.

‘‘The app then guides the user, or nurse, through five additional domains to identify the pain features,’’ she said.

Care services director Sarah Gaunt said it was well-know people in aged care experience pain.

‘‘But we don’t believe this should be the case,’’ she said.

‘‘People with dementia may have pain and it can be the underlying cause of a lot of their behaviour. Pain can be difficult to diagnose especially with patients who are non-verbal.

PainChek will only be downloaded on Wharparilla Lodge’s devices.