Pain assessment and management for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (ICHT) engaged us to design communication materials and guidelines for clinical staff to help them with pain management and ensure their patients receive appropriate treatment.

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Colour coding

We used four colours to show the varying levels pain scores a patient may feel, which are consistent across both the pain scoring and prescription systems.

Pain prescription mountain

The mountain takes on a reversed approach to the World Health Organisation’s classic analgesic ladder, where the dose needs to 'keep up' with pain thresholds. Our new approach encourages both healthcare professionals and patients to understand pain management as a sense of achievement that needs to be worked at.


We developed a set of icons for the range of analgesics to simplify the complex information.

Design development

Using the colour coding system and icons, we designed both the pain management scoring and prescription system. The final versions are shown above.

Printed scoring and prescription posters are now in circulation across Charing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith, London.

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