2000 OPEN FORUM Abstracts
Geriatric Pain Management
Marta Tingdale, BCA, RRT, RN Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, Texas
Pain is an invisible malady that assaults the older patient chronically as they age and acutely as disease strikes their bodies. The American Geriatric Society estimates that 25% - 50% of older people in the community have issues with pain and 45% - 80% in nursing facilities. JCAHO has recently established standards that all facilities must meet for the management of pain for all age groups and have established pain as an integral part of the multi-disciplinary care of a patient.
The assessment of pain in the elderly is influenced by each individual caregiver's experience with their own pain as well as their concept of normal aging. Many caregivers feel that the elderly are supposed to have some chronic pain and that to be pain-free is not an achievable goal in this population.
Caregivers have an ethical duty to determine the type/intensity of pain the geriatric patient is experiencing, to acknowledge its existence, and to provide adequate pain control whether through pharmacological intervention or palliative methods.