HCPLive Network

Current Pain Assessment Tools for Geriatric Patients Missing from Practices

Although many reliable and valid pain assessment tools for cognitively intact and impaired geriatric patients are currently available, clinical evidence emphasized by Keela Herr, PhD, RN, FAAN, AGSF, co-director of the John A. Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence at the University of Iowa College of Nursing, suggests those scales are not consistently administered throughout practice settings.

At a plenary session of the American Pain Society’s 32nd Annual Scientific Meeting, held May 8-13, 2013, in New Orleans, LA, Herr said one study found 95 percent of geriatric hospital patients experiencing pain received no objective pain assessment based on a valid tool during initial assessment from a doctor. In the hospice setting, initial assessment was sound, but reassessment — which Herr said is crucial to monitoring a treatment’s effectiveness — was extremely low.

Additionally, a study by Elizabeth Manias of the University of Melbourne School of Health Sciences found that a group of nurses were applying the same strategies they used throughout their careers to all geriatric pain patients, rather than individualizing care with available tailored pain scales, while another study by Andrea Gilmore, RN, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing, conducted qualitative interviews of 13 nurses across four nursing homes and discovered that they lacked clear procedures for assessing pain.

But Herr said issues surrounding pain assessment in older adults also stem from the sheer number of tools available and the variability among them, as she noted “there are now over 35 non-verbal pain tools available across the world — ranging from five behavioral categories to 60 individual behaviors and from presence of pain to pain intensity — and there’s no single best tool for practices to use.”


Further Reading
Recent studies looking at neural response in patients with fibromyalgia have shown that people with this condition may have hypersensitivity to non-painful stimuli.
The number of Americans dying from accidental overdoses of opioid analgesics jumped significantly from 1999 to 2011, according to a September data brief published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.
About 14.5 million US cancer survivors are alive today, compared to just three million in 1971, the American Association for Cancer Research reported Tuesday.
Contrary to standard definitions of autism in play a decade ago, children on the autism spectrum do not have problems with learning language. What they have trouble with is using their language skills in communicating effectively, a new study confirms.
For patients with prostate cancer, combination beam plus brachytherapy does not compromise long-term sexual function compared with external beam radiotherapy, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, held from Sept. 14 to 18 in San Francisco.
Including women older than 70 in national breast cancer screening programs won't lead to a sharp reduction in advanced forms of the disease, according to researchers who published their study findings online Sept. 15 in The BMJ.
Almost all the various treatment options for acute venous thromboembolism are equally safe and effective, according to research published in the Sept. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
More Reading
Recent studies looking at neural response in patients with fibromyalgia have shown that people with this condition may have hypersensitivity to non-painful stimuli.