Pain in elderly orthopaedic patients


  • This research was funded by the Chief Scientist Office of the SOHHD. The views expressed in this paper are the authors' and do not necessarily reflect those of the funding body.

Dr S.J. Class, Nursing Research Unit, Department of Nursing Studies, University of Edinburgh, 12 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh EH89LW, UK



  • This paper focuses on one aspect of a study of elderly orthopaedic patients, namely pain control.
  • One-hundred patients aged 70 years and over were interviewed on up to five occasions during admission to an acute orthopaedic unit.
  • The majority of patients had significant post-operative and/or post-trauma pain, and backache and joint pain were reported frequently.
  • None of the patients received more than half of the maximum prescribed number of doses of opioid analgesics over a period of 48 h following surgery.
  • The well-recognized problem of inadequate pain relief among hospital in-patients is discussed, in particular its relevance to elderly orthopaedic patients.