Painful Memories: Reliability of Pain Intensity Recall at 3 Months in Senior Patients Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Background.Validity of pain recall is questioned in research.Objective.To evaluate the reliability of pain intensity recall for seniors in an emergency department (ED).Methods.This study was part of a prospective multicenter project for seniors (≥65 years old) treated in an ED for minor traumatic injury. Pain intensity (0–10 numerical rating scale) was evaluated at the initial ED visit, at one week (baseline), and 3 months. At three months, patients were asked to recall the pain intensity they had at baseline.Results.482 patients were interviewed (mean age 76.6 years, SD ± 7.3) and 72.8% were female. Intraclass correlation coefficient between pain at baseline and its recall was 0.24 (95% CI: 0.14–0.33). Senior patients tended to overestimate their pain intensity by a mean of 1.2 (95% CI: 0.9–1.5) units. A stepwise multiple regression analysis showed that the variance of baseline pain recall at 3 months was explained by pain at ED visit (11%), pain at 3 months (7%), and pain at baseline (2%).Conclusion.The accuracy of pain intensity recall after three months is poor in seniors and seems to be influenced by the pain experienced at the time of injury.


  • Daoust, Raoul
  • Sirois, Marie-Josée
  • Lee, Jacques S
  • Perry, Jeffrey J
  • Griffith, Lauren
  • Worster, Andrew
  • Lang, Eddy
  • Paquet, Jean
  • Chauny, Jean-Marc
  • Émond, Marcel

publication date

  • 2017