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Pain Manag Nurs. 2011 Mar;12(1):41-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pmn.2009.10.002. Epub 2010 Jun 2.

Use, perceived effectiveness, and gender differences of pain relief strategies among the community-dwelling elderly in Taiwan.

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  • 1School of Nursing, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan.


Pain is a common problem among the elderly. The entire scope of chronic pain relief strategies used by community elderly is still unclear. A limited number of studies have investigated this issue from diverse culture perspectives. In the present study, we investigated the use and perceived effectiveness of pain relief strategies adopted by the elderly; gender differences between frequently used relief strategies were also explored. Two hundred nineteen participants living in Taiwan City, Taiwan, were recruited by a random sampling method and interviewed face to face. The prevalence of chronic pain among the elderly was 42.0% (n = 92). The elderly tended to adopt multiple strategies (mean ± SD = 9.08 ± 3.56; range = 2-18) to relieve their chronic pain. In three domains of pain relief strategies, conventional medicine was used more frequently than complementary and alternative medicine and psychologic approaches. Most pain relief strategies were ineffective. Among the 22 strategies used, no strategy was reported as "much improved" by a majority of users. The top five pain relief strategies used by men and women were the same. Elderly women tended to adopt more psychologic approaches, such as acceptance and ignoring to relieve pain, than men. The findings suggest that nurses should pay more attention to the issue of chronic pain relief and provide the elderly with more effective pain relief strategies.

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