The ability to detect pain in critically ill patients is something that should be researched so as to reduce the chances of undertreated pain in these patients. The essay that follows gives a detailed account of the FLACC tool. This tool has been tried and tested and proven to be reliable equipment. The essay will give a detailed account of the methodology used in reaching this conclusion and the advantages that the tool has over the other tools already available.
The study was conducted with the main objective of critically assessing and finding the power of the face, legs, activity, cry, and controllability using a behavioral scale that would help to determine the degree of pain in critically ill patients and small children who are not able to report the amount of pain they are experiencing. The study conducted points out that a good observation of behavioral patterns in sick patients and the use of scales that are not a list bit complicated can be an effective method of detecting the level of pain in a critically ill patient who is non-verbal.
The sample of patients who were used during the study included adults and children that were coincidentally present in the medical center’s critical unit during the period of the study which was conducted between 20002 and 2004. The category of patients who were included in the research were those who could not report the pain they were going through by themselves, another category were those who were undergoing a medical condition that was coupled with pain, those going through procedures that were accompanied with pain were also used during the study but the research left out those who given sedatives to reduce muscle pain. During the study, three nurses who were working concurrently but without help from each other would record twice the behavioral patterns of the patients while they were going through pain. These scores were recorded before the patients were administered with drugs and another score was recorded after the patients were administered with the anti-pain drugs after an interval of 15 to 30 minutes. During the study, the FLACC scale was used by two nurses while a third nurse used the checklist for nonverbal pain indicators was used for adults and the comfort scale for children.
The observations during the study were recorded by three nurses in the intensive care unit. After the observations were made, the demographical location, the patient’s illnesses and the kind of procedure that was used on each patient and finally the kind of analgesic that was administered to each patient was recorded. The validity of the FLACC scale was determined by making a comparison between the FLACC scale scores and the CNPI. Corresponding coefficients which had a value that exceeded 0.75 were a good indication of a positive relationship between the scales thus making the FLACC scale a success. After the research, a sum total of 79 observations in 29 had been made in critically ill adult patients and about 8 children. To make the FLACC scales a valid criterion, the correlation between the FLACC scales and the CNPI scale was a significant-close when compared to the adults’ results and also the COMFORT scale showed a very close correlation thus making the FLACC scale a reliable method (Voepel-Lewis, Zanotti, Dammeyer, and Merkel, 2010, p57).
The only flaw with the FLACCs tool is that the cry criterion did not yield a good correlation when compared to the results of the COMFORT and CNPI tools. Despite this single shortcoming, the FLACC pain behavioral tool has proven to be a reliable and valid pain assessment tool in patients who have the inability to give a report of the pain they are undergoing in both adults and children. In addition to this, the FLACC tool has an overriding advantage over the other tools due to the fact that it can be put to use across all sorts of populations and settings and also the FLACC tool scores can be compared to other scores produced from by putting to use the 0 to 10 numeral ranking scales.
In conclusion, the equipment can be used in critically ill patients or children who are unable to give a report of the pain they are feeling. The FLACC tool will give a detailed report of the observations made on the thecriterias used by the FLACC tool which includes the face, legs, activity, cry, and controllability. These observations will give the nurse the intensity of the patients’ pain and therefore the issue of undertreated pain will be checked in such patients.
Voepel-Lewis, T., Zanotti, J., Dammeyer, J., & Merkel, S. (2010). Reliability and Validity of the Face, Legs, Activity, Cry, Consolability Behavioral Tool in Assessing Acute Pain in Critically Ill Patients. American Journal of Critical Care, 19, 55-61.