Assessment and Management of Pain in Older Adults: A Review of the Basics

Patricia Bruckenthal, PhD, RN, ANP; Yvonne M. D'Arcy, MS, CRNP, CNS


Topics in Advanced Practice Nursing eJournal. 2007;7(1) 

In This Article

The Bottom Line

There are many options available to manage pain in older adults. Often a team approach, including the patient, family members, nurses, and physicians, is needed to reach optimal pain relief. The first step in developing a plan of care for the patient is screening for the presence of pain. This holds true even for patients who are cognitively impaired. Treatment selection should be based on the patients':

  • Diagnosis;

  • Preference; and

  • Tolerance of the intervention.

Frequent reevaluation and modifications to the treatment plan are essential. Those treating the patients must weigh the benefits against the potential adverse effects. Although pain management in the older population remains undertreated, increased awareness of assessment techniques and treatment options on the part of the nurse will help to bridge this gap.


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