Module 9: When It Hurts: Caring for the Older Adult in Pain
Module 9 addresses:
1) Caring for older adults in pain when cognition is either intact or impaired;
2) Common misconceptions and cultural issues about pain in older adults;
3) A range of strategies to recognize, report and relieve pain;
4) Non-drug and drug therapies for pain.
When it Hurts: Caring for the Older Adult in Pain
Marylou Kaufman, MSN, RN
PCNS consultant and
GEC Staff members
Pain has substantial effects on health and well being. Pain is a common problem for older adults, especially the frail. Among older adults living in the community, 45-70% report significant daily pain. And patients with dementia have especially high rates of untreated pain. Reports indicate that 70-80% of nursing home residents have significant pain. Nursing home residents with cognitive impairment have high rates of unreported pain, which may only be revealed when carefully questioned and observed.
Understanding and being able to identify pain is important. Identifying pain is important for diagnosis, since pain is often a signal of illness, and, also for maintaining function and ability to care for oneself, since pain may reduce a person's strength and agility. Pain may also affect the person's ability to focus or concentrate. In summary, being able to identify pain is important for quality of life since pain has a negative effect on so many of its aspects.
For the Instructor: