February Scholar

OHSU School of Nursing February Scholar

Lois Miller

Lois Miller, Ph.D., R.N., Professor

"Assessment of Pain in Older Adults with Dementia: Focus on Behaviors"

The focus of my work is the assessment and treatment of pain in older adults with dementia.  I became interested in this topic as a result of a state-wide project I was involved in to improve pain care for nursing home residents.  Nurses involved in the project realized very quickly that they did not know how to evaluate whether the residents with dementia in their facilities experienced pain nor how to treat pain once it was recognized.  This stimulated me to study this issue further and I was awarded  a grant to evaluate an intervention focused on treating and minimizing pain during caregiving activities.  This work has been especially gratifying because until recently nurses and other health professionals have not been aware of the behaviors that can indicate pain and because very often we can intervene to either prevent or minimize the pain that people with dementia experience. Most recently, I have been involved in a national project to develop a web site with comprehensive information about the assessment and treatment of pain in older adults (www.geriatricpain.org).  

I have been fortunate to work with outstanding colleagues and students on these projects. I am committed to understanding  behaviors  in people with dementia and to promoting  further study of pain in this vulnerable population.