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App promises to improve pain management in dementia patients

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University of Alberta computing scientists are developing an app to aid health-care staff to assess and manage pain in patients suffering from dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. "The challenge with understanding pain in patients with dementia is that the expressions of pain in these individuals are often mistaken for psychiatric problems," said Eleni Stroulia, professor in the Department of Computing Science and co-lead on the project. "So we asked, how can we use technology to better understand the pain of people with dementia?" Along with Stroulia, the project is led by Thomas Hadjistavropoulos at the University of Regina as part of AGE-WELL, one of Canada's Networks of Centres of Excellence. The app will serve to digitize a pen-and-paper observational checklist that past research has shown helps health-care workers such as nurses when assessing pain in their patients suffering from dementia.