Pain is a major single reason for people seeking medical care and it is associated with many illnesses. Pain assessment is critical for optimizing pain management interventions. Uncontrolled pain places patients at risk for numerous adverse psychological and physiological consequences, some of which may be life-threatening.
Systematic assessment of pain is particularly difficult at times when the ability of the patient to communicate is limited, e.g. during critical illness, under sedation or anesthesia. Reliable pain assessment in poorly communicating patients would ease treatment, increase patient satisfaction and increase patient safety.