Validity and reliability of the critical care pain observation tool: a replication study.

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Journal Title

Pain management nursing : official journal of the American Society of Pain Management Nurses.

MeSH Headings

Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Behavior, Cardiac Surgical Procedures, Critical Care Nursing, Critical Illness, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Pain Management, Pain Measurement, Pain, Postoperative, Qualitative Research, Reproducibility of Results


Critically ill patients are often not able to self-report the presence of pain. Currently there is no generally accepted assessment tool for this population. The Critical-Care Pain Observation Tool (CPOT) was developed for pain assessment of critically ill patients. The purpose of this study was to replicate the findings of the Gelinas et al. (2006) CPOT reference study and examine the interrater reliability (IRR), discriminant validity (DV), and criterion validity (CV) of the CPOT. This quantitative study used a repeated measures design with a convenience sample of 21 postoperative open heart surgery patients cared for in a tertiary-care teaching hospital. Testing for IRR in this sample showed a range of results resulting in fair to almost perfect IRR; the findings of this study suggest that the instrument's IRR is acceptable but variable. Testing for DV demonstrated a significant difference in mean scores between noxious (painful) and nonnoxious (nonpainful) procedures. Testing for CV showed a weak nonsignificant Spearman correlation of 0.26 (P < .312) between CPOT scores and patient self-report during repositioning after extubation. This replication study adds to four studies that have examined psychometric attributes of the instrument and contributes to the process of translating the use of this instrument to the clinical setting.



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