Pain in community-dwelling persons with dementia: Frequency, intensity, and congruence between patient and caregiver report

Joseph W. Shega, Gavin W. Hougham, Carol B. Stocking, Deon Cox-Hayley, Greg A. Sachs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

71 Scopus citations


To better understand the pain experience of persons with dementia and to describe what factors are related to congruence of pain reports within patient-caregiver dyads, a cohort study enrolled patient-caregiver dyads at a primary care geriatrics clinic. Thirty-two percent of persons with dementia self-report pain "right now." Of these, 65% report slight/mild pain, 27% moderate pain, and 8% severe pain or greater. Fifty-two percent of caregivers report their care recipients with dementia are in some pain "right now." Of these, 52% report slight/mild pain, 30% moderate, and 18% severe pain or greater. Fifty-nine percent of dyads agree on the presence or absence of patient pain. In multivariate analysis of dyadic congruence of pain reports by patient and caregiver factors, only patient factors predicted congruence. The odds of congruence of pain reports increase 3.7 (1.2-12.3) if the patient is male and decrease 0.938 (0.93-0.99) as the patient becomes more agitated. These findings suggest that community-dwelling persons with dementia report less pain than those in the nursing home and caregivers do a fair job of predicting patient pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-592
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004



  • Dementia
  • congruence
  • pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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