These are tools clinicians such as nurses use to assist in assessment of the patient's pain. It is always important to remember that the single most important and reliable indicator of pain is the patient self-reporting. Some patients, however, may be unable to communicate, and in these cases, objective pain assessment scales are needed. The nurse is guided by the recommendations of the Joint Commission that the "hospital uses methods to assess pain that are consistent with the patient's age, conditions, and ability to understand (www.JC.org)."
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