Behavioral Pain Scale – translation, reliability, and validity in a Swedish context

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Abstract

Background:

Assessing pain in the intensive care unit (ICU) is challenging. Due to intubation and sedation, communication can be limited. International guidelines recommend assessing pain with instruments based on behavioral parameters when critically ill patients are unable to self-report their pain level. One of the recommended instruments, the Behavioral Pain Scale (BPS), has shown good validity and reliability in international studies. The aim of this study was to translate and adapt the BPS for critically ill intubated and non-intubated patients in a Swedish ICU context and to assess inter-rater reliability and discriminant validity.

Methods:

The BPS (both for intubated and non-intubated patients) was translated and adapted into Swedish using a translation method consisting of ten steps. The Swedish version was then tested for inter-rater reliability and discriminant validity on 20 critically ill patients (10 intubated and 10 non-intubated) before and directly after a potentially painful procedure (repositioning).

Results:

The Swedish version of the BPS showed inter-rater reliability with a percentage agreement of 85% when tested on a sample of critically ill patients. The instrument also showed discriminant validity between assessments at rest and after repositioning.

Conclusion:

Results of the Swedish version of the BPS support its use in critically ill patients who cannot self-report their pain level. Still, additional studies are needed to further explore its reliability and validity in the Swedish ICU context.

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