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CNE Article

Pain Assessment: Use of the Defense and Veterans Pain Rating Scale in Patients With Cancer

Lisa M. Blackburn
Kathy Burns
Elizabeth DiGiannantoni
Karen Meade
Colleen O’Leary
Rita Stiles
CJON 2018, 22(6), 643-648 DOI: 10.1188/18.CJON.643-648

Background: Thorough, consistent pain assessment and reassessment are critical to guide and evaluate interventions designed to improve pain.

Objectives: Based on a literature review about functional pain assessment, clinicians selected and then implemented the Defense and Veterans Pain Rating Scale (DVPRS) as a pain assessment instrument option in a comprehensive cancer center.

Methods: The DVPRS was added as a pain assessment instrument in clinical oncology practice. From postimplementation chart review and clinician satisfaction surveys, the DVPRS was evaluated for the following: improved communication among patients, nurses, and providers regarding patient pain intensity; consistency by nurses and providers when treating pain intensity (mild, moderate, or severe); and clinician satisfaction using the DVPRS to assess a patient’s functional status along with pain intensity.

Findings: Seventy-eight percent of nurses surveyed (N = 64) preferred the DVPRS over any other pain assessment tool. Inpatient and ambulatory patients surveyed (N = 144) agreed that a Likert-type scale in the DVPRS was easier to understand, easier to use, and better in describing their pain than the numeric rating scale.

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