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Keywords:

  • nursing homes;
  • older persons;
  • pain;
  • psychological well-being

tse m., leung r. & ho s. (2012) Pain and psychological well-being of older persons living in nursing homes: an exploratory study in planning patient-centred intervention. Journal of Advanced Nursing 68(2), 312–321.

Abstract

Aim.  This article is a report on a study to examine the pain situation, the use of oral analgesics and non-pharmacological strategies and the psychological well-being of older patients living in nursing homes; the relationships between pain and psychological well-being were also explored.

Background.  Pain is common among older adults world-wide, and tends to be under-treated. Indeed, the high prevalence of pain may further hinder the fulfilment of psychological needs in a Maslow hierarchy of needs model.

Method.  It was a quantitative cross-sectional study; older adults from six nursing homes were invited to join the study in 2007–2009, with a response rate of 100%. Pain was measured using the Geriatric Pain Assessment, happiness using the Subjective Happiness Scale, life satisfaction using the Life Satisfaction Index – A Form, loneliness using the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale and depression was measured using the Geriatric Depression Scale.

Results.  A convenience sample of 302 older patients (213 females and 89 males aged from 60 to 101, mean age of 84·99) joined the study. The majority of them had experienced pain in the previous 3 months, with a pain intensity of 4·51 on a 10-point scale. Pain sites were mainly the knee, back, shoulder and musculoskeletal areas. Only 50% of them took oral analgesics, and 70% used non-pharmacological measures for pain relief. The pain group reported significantly more loneliness and depression when compared with their no-pain counterparts.

Conclusions.  As the number of older patients increases, so does the need for alternative accommodation; thus, pain management education is urgently needed for staff and nursing home residents.