• Vol. 32 No. 6, 771–777
  • 15 November 2003

Considerations in the Assessment and Management of Older People with Chronic Pain

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: The aim of the paper is to describe the philosophical underpinnings and methodologies in the management of chronic pain in older people.

Methods: The paper represents a summary of the data concerning the management of pain in older people. These data have been gleaned from various sources, including textbooks, reviews, original papers and conference reports.

Results: Persistent pain affects approximately 50% of the older population above 65 years. Chronic pain describes a syndrome of persistent pain and accompanying adverse psychosocial consequences and functional disabilities. This is believed to be an inaccurate appraisal of the nociceptive stimulus by the patient. Assessment is based on a multidisciplinary cognitive-behavioural model. Management consisting of a seamless blend of pharmacological, physical and psychological therapies is likely to yield the best results.

Conclusion: Chronic pain in older people is an emerging problem in the specialty of geriatric medicine. The traditional multidisciplinary approach is likely to give good results.


Persistent pain has been estimated to occur in 50% of community dwelling older people of age 65 years and above. It has been associated with multiple functional and psychological complications.

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