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Natl Med J India. 2017 Jul-Aug;30(4):203-207. doi: 10.4103/0970-258X.218673.

Assessment of pain in the elderly: A literature review.

Author information

1
Department of Quality Improvement, Konkuk University Medical Center, 120-1 Neungdong-ro (Hwayangdong), Gwangjin-gu, Seoul 05030, Korea.
2
Department of Family Medicine, Konkuk University Medical Center, 120-1 Neungdong-ro (Hwayangdong), Gwangjin-gu, Seoul 05030, Korea.
3
Department of Neurology, Konkuk University Medical Center, 120-1 Neungdong-ro (Hwayangdong), Gwangjin-gu, Seoul 05030, Korea.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Pain perception is highly subjective, and effective pain management can be challenging in the elderly. We aimed to identify a set of practical measures that could be used to assess pain in elderly patients with or without cognitive impairment, as the first step towards effectively managing their pain.

METHODS:

We used the PRISMA guidelines for this literature review. Two reviewers independently assessed titles, abstracts and full-text articles, and a third reviewer resolved any disagreements.

RESULTS:

A total of 11 285 abstracts and 103 full-text articles were assessed. Forty-one studies met the inclusion criteria. The Numeric Rating Scale, Visual Analogue Scale, Face Pain Scale and Verbal Descriptor Scale have proven valid in the elderly. The Abbey pain scale, Doloplus-2, Pain Assessment in Advanced Dementia scale, Pain Assessment Checklist for Seniors with Limited Ability to Communicate, Checklist of Nonverbal Pain Indicators, Pain Assessment for the Dementing Elderly rating tool and the Clinical Utility of the CNA Pain Assessment Tool are used in elderly patients with cognitive impairment.

CONCLUSIONS:

We identified a number of reliable and valid methods for pain assessment in the elderly. Elderly patients can receive treatment in a variety of settings, and frequently it is administered by a caregiver or family member, rather than a medical employee. The development of a pain assessment tool that is not subject to variations arising from differences in settings or caregivers is needed to assess pain accurately in elderly patients, and provide timely treatment. Natl Med J India 2017;30:203-7.

PMID:
29162753
DOI:
10.4103/0970-258X.218673
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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