Diagnosing Pain in Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Current State and Novel Technological Solutions

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Abstract

Pain assessment poses a challenge in several groups of clients, yet specific barriers arise when it comes to pain assessment of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), due mostly to communication challenges preventing valid and reliable self-reports. Despite increased interest in pain assessment of those diagnosed with IDD within recent years, little is known about pain behavior in this group. The present article overviews the current state of pain diagnosis for individuals with IDD, focusing on existing pain assessment scales. In addition, it suggests technological developments offering new ways to diagnose existence of pain in this population, such as a Smartphone App for caregivers based on unique acoustic characteristics of pain-related vocal responses, or the use of smart wearable shirts that enable continuous surveillance of vital physiological signs. Such novel technological solutions may improve diagnosis of pain in the IDD population, as well as in other individuals with complex communication needs, to provide better pain treatment and enhance overall quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Article number401
JournalDiagnostics
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Keywords

  • intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • pain assessment
  • pain management

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