If you’ve spent time in doctors’ offices or hospitals, you’ve probably noticed posters featuring a scale of faces—from smiling to grimacing—accompanied by the numbers 1–10. Known as the Wong-Baker Pain Rating Scale, this graphic was designed to help patients understand and communicate the severity of their pain through both numbers and expressive faces. While helpful to an extent, this scale is vague and oversimplified. Pain is complex and hard to describe, and this thesis aims to give patients a better tool to communicate their layered and subjective experience of pain.
Tell Us How You Feel is a set of two 44-card decks that feature visual depictions of different kinds of pain—emotional, physical, and mental—along with short, written definitions of those feelings. The two decks were created for two audiences: children and adults. The children’s deck provides kid-friendly illustrations and definitions, as well as concrete examples of the different sensations to help them to fully understand the pain they are experiencing. The adult deck is for those, who might already understand what these sensations mean but just need a tool to help them to identify, dissect, and analyze their pain. Both deck illustrations use bunnies to help distance patients from their pain while bringing a lighter mood to a darker subject.
While Tell Us How You Feel may not cover all aspects of pain, the hope is that through the existing cards more people are able to understand their pain and convey it properly so they get the help they need.