Online Resource for Pain Assessment & Management in the Long-term Care

The Geriatric Pain Website was created in response to the need for better pain assessment and management in long-term care environments.

Attendees at the “Interventions to Improve Evidence-based Pain Management in Older Adults” session Friday, May 7, at the American Pain Society 29th Annual Scientific Meeting were presented with handouts featuring information about the Geriatric Pain Website, a free online resource that was “created in response to the need for better pain assessment and management in long-term care environments.” The site is sponsored by The Mayday Fund, The Honor Society of Nursing, the University of Iowa, and a grant from the RWJ Executive Nurse Fellows program to session moderator Keela Herr, RN, PhD.

The site is designed to share “free best-practice tools and resources that support recommendations for good pain assessment and management in older adults, including implementation of quality improvement processes focused on pain management.” It is designed to be user-friendly and easy to navigate, with content and resources organized into “areas of emphasis,” such as pain assessment, pain management, education, quality improvement, and guidelines.

Access to The Geriatric Pain Website is free, though a brief registration is required; users provide a valid e-mail address, zip code, name, and select a password.

The “Pain Assessment” section of the site outlines core principles of pain assessment and provides recommendations for effective pain management, complete with tools for “assessing, documenting and monitoring pain in cognitively intact and cognitively impaired older adults.” Registered users will also find training resources that can help staff administer screening and assessment procedures, including “best practice tools for assessing pain behavior in nonverbal adults.”

Visitors to the “Pain Treatment” section of this site will find information on the core principles of pain treatment, a glossary of key pain management terminology, tools for documenting and communicating pain treatments and response to treatment, and tools for communicating with prescribers and monitoring analgesic treatment.

Because education is one of the cornerstones of improved pain assessment and management, the Geriatric Pain Website offers a variety of educational tools and resources. Providers will find resources that “address barriers that impact quality pain care and include educational tools such as powerpoints, videos and games.” Patients and their caregivers and family members can access a variety of tools and information that are geared toward helping them become informed about pain and its management.

Quality improvement resources at the site include a quality improvement process overview, a quality improvement program, and other QI tools and resources. Visitors will also find current guidelines and position statements that guide pain care in older persons, a directory of federal regulations that impact pain care, and links to other organizations that “have resources and supports for clinicians working in nursing homes caring for older persons.”

Finally, the site also provides information about the Center for Nursing Excellence in Long-Term Care, a partnership among “experts from the nine Hartford Centers of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, nurses from skilled nursing facilities, senior nurse executives from national providers, and representatives from trade associations, geriatric nursing organizations, and consumer groups” that is intended to “strengthen the professional practice of nursing in nursing homes and to improve the quality of care and quality of life for patients/residents in nursing homes.”

Visit the Geriatric Pain Website to register and learn more, sign up for e-mail updates when new content and resources are added, and share comments and suggestions regarding additional resources that you would like to see added to the website.