Managing pain in the older person
Suzanne Chapman Clinical nurse specialist, Pain Management, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London
The UK population is ageing and a significant proportion of older people experience persistent pain. However, pain assessment in this group can be challenging, particularly when the older person has cognitive or communication impairment. Nurses working in primary and secondary care should take a more proactive role to help overcome patient, professional and institutional barriers to pain assessment and management. This article examines the age-related physiological changes that complicate the prescribing and administering of analgesic drugs in older patients and necessitate careful patient monitoring. It outlines the principles of medication administration for pain management in older people and provides examples of assessment tools that can be used in older patients.
Nursing Standard. 25, 11, 35-39. doi: 10.7748/ns2010.11.25.11.35.c8103