"This measure is shown to get you to talk to the nursing home staff about how they check and manage pain, and to make you aware of how important it is. Pain can be caused by a variety of medical conditions. Checking for pain and pain management are very complex.
Comparing these percentages is different from the other measures because the percentages may mean different things. Generally, a lower percentage on this measure is better. However, this isn't always true. For example, two nursing homes could provide the same quality of care and have the same number of residents with pain. However, if one of the nursing homes does a better job checking the residents for pain, they could have a higher percentage on this measure. Or, if for personal or cultural reasons, more residents in one of the nursing homes refuse to take pain medication, that nursing home's percentage would be higher. In these examples, although the percentage for one nursing home is higher, it does not mean it is not providing good care.
It is important to note that most residents who are in a nursing home following a hospitalization are recovering from an acute (severe) illness, surgery, or an injury (like a broken bone). It is common to have pain after surgery or an injury. Physical therapy to restore functioning can also be associated with some degree of pain that is unavoidable, so a nursing home that specializes in rehabilitation may have more residents with pain. However, it is still important to identify and treat pain."
Why is this important?: "Residents should always be checked regularly by nursing home staff to see if they are having pain. Residents (or someone on their behalf) should let staff know if they are in pain so efforts can be made to find the cause and make the resident more comfortable. If pain is not treated, a resident may not be able to perform daily routines, may become depressed, or have an overall poor quality of life. This percentage may include some residents who are getting or have been prescribed treatment for their pain, but who refuse pain medicines or choose to take less. They choose to accept a certain level of pain so they can stay more alert."
Taken from the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services: Nursing Home Information for Consumers