Approaches to acute pain management in older people
CPD Previous    

Approaches to acute pain management in older people

Angela Telford Nurse specialist acute pain, The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne, England

Pain is a diverse, individual experience and is associated with distress and suffering. Uncontrolled acute pain has been linked to delayed recovery and prolonged hospital stay. Nurses have a duty of care to their patients and acute pain management is integral to this. However, acute pain in older people can be difficult to manage, often because of under-reporting or difficulties in assessment. Older people have altered physiology often compounded by multiple co-morbidities and polypharmacy, all of which affect the appropriateness of, and available, pharmacological pain management strategies. In addition, older people are at greater risk of adverse drug reactions, drug interactions and side effects from analgesia. Consequently, non-pharmacological strategies should also be integral to pain management.

Nursing Older People. 29, 9, 32-41. doi: 10.7748/nop.2017.e980


Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Write for us

For information about writing for RCNi journals, contact

For author guidelines, go to

Received: 13 July 2017

Accepted: 11 September 2017