Two hundred and eight qualified hospital nurses each completed a short questionnaire about pain and pain control in patients aged 70 years and over Their awareness of the prevalence of chronic pain and its negative consequences was good, as was their knowledge of methods of assessing pain Many, however, harboured misconceptions about the pharmacological treatment of pain and exaggerated the risk of opioid-mduced respiratory depression A wide range of complementary methods of pain control had been used by many of the nurses, and considerable interest was expressed in developing these skills further Nurses from acute surgical areas tended to have a better knowledge of issues related to pain in elderly people than those from care of the elderly wards