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Keywords:

  • Ageist Attitude towards Older Adults;
  • Assessment of Pain;
  • Education;
  • Nursing

Background

Chronic pain experienced by residents in long-term care is a common complaint that is often underdiagnosed and inadequately treated. This in part may be due to poor nursing practice in pain assessment.

Aim

To identify factors predicting nurses' performance of pain assessment among older long-term care residents. Furthermore, it will examine the relationship between ageist attitudes and practices and attitudes about pain assessment of older adults.

Methods

A descriptive correlation survey was carried out among 104 nurses working in a long-term care facility. The survey measured nurses' pain assessment practices and attitude about pain assessment, and attitudes to older people. Linear regression was used to examine associations between the variables.

Findings

Our results show that nurse assessment is directly and positively correlated with their general knowledge about pain obtained in pre-service nursing studies, but not with knowledge obtained during in-service training. Nurses with a positive, non-ageist attitude towards older adults are more likely to have higher levels of awareness of the need to perform pain assessment.

Key conclusions and implications for practice

Concerning implementation, we suggest increasing pain assessment training as part of pre-service nursing education. The necessary training should focus on improving attitudes towards older adults, removing negative myths associated with them and increasing appreciation of the importance of pain assessment.