JOURNAL ARTICLE

Measuring Acute Pain Over Time in the Critically Ill Using the Multidimensional Objective Pain Assessment Tool (MOPAT)

Debra L Wiegand, Tracey Wilson, Diane Pannullo, Marguerite M Russo, Karen Snow Kaiser, Karen Soeken, Deborah B McGuire
Pain Management Nursing: Official Journal of the American Society of Pain Management Nurses 2018, 19 (3): 277-287
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BACKGROUND: A valid and reliable instrument is needed to assess acute pain in critically ill patients unable to self-report and who may be transitioning between critical care and other settings.

AIM: To examine the reliability, validity, and clinical utility of the Multidimensional Objective Pain Assessment Tool (MOPAT) when used over time by critical care nurses to assess acute pain in non-communicative critically ill patients.

METHODS: Twenty-seven patients had pain assessed at two time points (T1 and T2) surrounding a painful event for up to 3 days. Twenty-one ICU nurses participated in pain assessments and completed the Clinical Utility Questionnaire.

RESULTS: Internal consistency reliability coefficient alphas for the MOPAT were .68 at T1 and .72 at T2. Inter-rater agreement during painful procedures or turning was 68% for the behavioral dimension and 80% for the physiologic dimension. Validity was evidenced by decreases (p < .001) in the MOPAT total and behavioral and physiologic dimension scores when comparing T1 and T2. Nurses found the tool clinically useful.

CONCLUSION: The MOPAT can be used in the critical care setting as a helpful tool to assess pain in non-communicative patients. The MOPAT is unique in that the instrument can be used over time and across settings.

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