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BMC Health Serv Res. 2005 Jan 14;5(1):4.

Patient involvement in medical decision-making and pain among elders: physician or patient-driven?

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Department of Health Management and Policy, University of North Texas School of Public Health, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd,, Fort Worth, TX 76107, USA.



Pain is highly prevalent among older adults, but little is known about how patient involvement in medical decision-making may play a role in limiting its occurrence or severity. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether physician-driven and patient-driven participation in decision-making were associated with the odds of frequent and severe pain.


A cross-sectional population-based survey of 3,135 persons age 65 and older was conducted in the 108-county region comprising West Texas. The survey included self-reports of frequent pain and, among those with frequent pain, the severity of pain.


Findings from multivariate logistic regression analyses showed that higher patient-driven participation in decision-making was associated with lower odds (OR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.75-0.89) of frequent pain, but was not significantly associated with severe pain. Physician-driven participation was not significantly associated with frequent or severe pain.


The findings suggest that patients may need to initiate involvement in medical decision-making to reduce their chances of experiencing frequent pain. Changes to other modifiable health care characteristics, including access to a personal doctor and health insurance coverage, may be more conducive to limiting the risk of severe pain.

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