Assessment of pain in chronic wounds: A survey of Australian health care practitioners Academic Article uri icon


  • Pain associated with chronic wounds can delay wound healing, affects quality of life, and has a major impact on physical, emotional, and cognitive function. However, wound-related pain is often under-assessed and may therefore be suboptimally managed. The aim of this study was to describe the assessment practices used to assess chronic wound pain by health practitioners in Australia. A structured self-administered questionnaire was posted to members of an Australian national wound care organisation, whose membership represents various health practitioners involved in wound management. A total of 1190 (53%) members completed the survey. Overall, wound pain assessment was most commonly conducted at every consultation or wound dressing change (n = 718/1173, 61%). Nurses were more likely to assess wound-related pain before, during, and after the wound dressing procedures compared with other health care practitioners. In contrast, podiatrists assessed wound pain only when the patient complained about the pain. The most common assessment method was simply talking to the patient (n = 1005/1180, 85%). Two-thirds of practitioners used a validated pain assessment tool. The most commonly used tool was the numerical analogue scale (n = 524/1175, 46%). In summary, these findings suggest that there is no consistent method for the assessment of wound-related pain, and there are substantial variations in how and when wound-related pain is assessed between different professions.

publication date

  • 2018