Patient comfort and the control of pain are important goals in geriatric care. Pain is the most common symptom of disease and the most common complaint in physicians’ offices. 1 However, the management of chronic pain can be perplexing for physicians. With no objective biological markers for pain, assessment remains based on the patient's perceptions and self‐report, and these are often clouded by individual interpretation of sensation, affective reactions, and behavioral responses. Several studies have documented that many physicians and nurses lack information about pain assessment and may have an inaccurate knowledge base about common pharmacological agents used in pain control. 2–4 Consequences of pain are widespread in the elderly population. Depression, 5–7 decreased socialization, 7–8 sleep disturbance, 7 impaired ambulation, 7–9 and increased health care utilization and costs 9 have all been associated with the presence of pain among elderly people. Though less thoroughly explored, deconditioning, gait disturbances, falls, slow rehabilitation, polypharmacy, cognitive dysfunction, and malnutrition are among the many geriatric conditions potentially worsened by the presence of pain. Finally, pain and its management have major implications for quality of life and quality of care, especially for terminal patients 10 and residents of long‐term‐care facilities. 8 Pain
Journal of American Geriatrics Society – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 1991
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