Pain and Distress

Part of Wellbeing for Life series

Everyone experiences pain, but how they communicate their pain is different.

People with a learning disability may be unable to:

  • recognise their pain
  • describe their pain
  • tell others about their pain
  • say where the pain is

This is very different to saying they do not experience pain or have a high pain threshold.


Contents of this mini book:

  • What is pain?
  • What is distress?
  • Busting the myths
  • Looking at pain in more detail
  • Case study example – meet Michael
  • The different types of pain:
  • Pain in people with dementia and learning disability:
  • How do people communicate pain and distress when they are unable to tell you directly?
  • Looking at pain in more detail
  • Using the MacIntyre person-centred thinking tools
  • MacIntyre communication charts
  • The MacIntyre pain and distress assessment tool
  • Using ‘important to’ and ‘important for’
  • Learning logs
  • Learning logs example
  • The pain cycle
  • What can you do to help someone manage their pain or distress?
  • Supporting the person