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When does self-report of pain occur?: A study of older adults.


Rodríguez I, Cajamarca G, Herskovic V
PeerJ. 2022; 10:e13716.
PMID: 35873914.


Technologies for self-care can drive participatory health and promote independence of older adults. One self-care activity is regularly measuring and registering personal health indicators (self-reporting). Older adults may benefit from this practice, as they are more likely to have chronic health issues and have specific self-monitoring needs. However, self-reporting technologies are usually not designed specifically for them. Pain is usually measured using patient reports compiled during medical appointments, although this process may be affected by memory bias and under reporting of fluctuating pain. To address these issues, we introduced a simple tangible interface to self-report pain levels and conducted a three-hour evaluation with 24 older adults. The goal of this study was to identify whether specific activities, activity levels or pain levels trigger older adults to self-report their pain level, besides to understand how older adults would use such a device. Within the limited time frame of the experiment, the majority of our participants chose to report pain when they felt it most, not reporting lower levels of pain. No evidence was found to suggest a relationship between the reporting of pain and the activity (or activity level). Several design insights intended to improve the design of technologies are provided.