Learning Objectives

At the end of this learning experience, participants will be able to demonstrate the following competencies of pain assessment specific to cognitively impaired older adults:

  • Recognize the prevalence of pain and its undertreatment in patients with dementia
  • Explain how pain can present differently in someone with dementia compared to someone who is cognitively intact 
  • Describe challenges in assessing pain in persons with dementia at multiple levels: self-report vs caregiver assessments vs observational assessments
  • Justify the need for a multimodal approach to assess pain in cognitively impaired older adults
  • Compare three pain assessment scales that can be used in patients with dementia


  • Grace Wu, MD
  • Katherine A Bennett, MD
  • Linda Teri, PhD
  • Dale Langford, PhD
  • Debra B Gordon RN, DNP, FAAN
  • University of WA Center of Excellence in Pain Education
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