Problems of Video-Based Pain Detection in Patients with Dementia: A Road Map to an Interdisciplinary Solution

Kunz, Miriam; Seuss, Dominik; Hassan, Teena; Garbas, Jens U.; Siebers, Michael; Schmid, Ute; Schöberl, Michael; Lautenbacher, Stefan
BMC Geriatrics

Background: Given the unreliable self-report in patients with dementia, pain assessment should also rely on the observation of pain behaviors, such as facial expressions. Ideal observers should be well trained and should observe the patient continuously in order to pick up any pain-indicative behavior; which are requisitions beyond realistic possibilities of pain care. Therefore, the need for video-based pain detection systems has been repeatedly voiced. Such systems would allow for constant monitoring of pain behaviors and thereby allow for a timely adjustment of pain management in these fragile patients, who are often undertreated for pain. Methods: In this road map paper we describe an interdisciplinary approach to develop such a video-based pain detection system. The development starts with the selection of appropriate video material of people in pain as well as the development of technical methods to capture their faces. Furthermore, single facial motions are automatically extracted according to an international coding system. Computer algorithms are trained to detect the combination and timing of those motions, which are pain-indicative. Results/conclusion: We hope to encourage colleagues to join forces and to inform end-users about an imminent solution of a pressing pain-care problem. For the near future, implementation of such systems can be foreseen to monitor immobile patients in intensive and postoperative care situations.