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Collins, Peter J.; Renedo, Alicia; Marston, Cicely A. (2020): Communicating and understanding pain limitations of pain scales for patients with sickle cell disorder and other painful conditions. In: Journal of Health Psychology, 1359105320944987
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Pain communication in healthcare is challenging. We examine use of pain scales to communicate pain severity via a case study of people with sickle cell disorder (SCD). We show how pain communication involves complex social interactions between patients, healthcare professionals and significant others - none of which are included in pain ratings. Failure to account for relational aspects of pain may cause problems for any patient. For SCD, mutual distrust shapes pain communication, further complicating clinical assessments. Moreover, SCD pain is particularly severe, making ratings hard to interpret compared with ratings from non-SCD patients, potentially exacerbating problems in managing pain relief.