Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wong Pain Scale

The Wong Pain Scale is a standard way for doctors, nurses and medical staff to have patients indicate levels of pain in order to determine the need for further treatment. In speaking adults patients are generally just asked to rate pain on a scale of 1-10, but for children, non-speaking individuals and those with cognitive disabilities either the Wong Pain Scale or, less frequently the alternate Faces Scale Revised is used.

When I learned more about this system and how it is used, especially as it relates to my students I decided my students should have experience with the Wong Pain Scale, so that they are familiar with it and able to effectively use it in emergencies, at doctors visits and while in the hospital. I used the "right click - save image" as feature to save a version of the Wong Pain Scale (found via Google Image search) to my computer and then imported it into Boardmaker.

Now I can search in Boardmaker for "Wong Pain Scale" and add it to the bottom of every medical board I make. I can also add it to curricular materials such as those I am currently making for a unit about communicating in an emergency.

Students, even verbal students, can then be taught how to point to the correct part of the pain scale for how they are feeling. They can be taught to understand what it means when they see the pain scale (someone wants to know how much it hurts). Learning activities can include talking about how much different kinds of things might hurt and which picture your would point to. For example, "Point to the part of the scale you would use for a bee sting. Now for an ear ache. Now for a broken leg." This kind of lesson gives our students the tools they need before they need them.

The pain scale can even be imported into higher tech AAC devices and be intergrated into communication systems for daily communication about pain.

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