Prevalence of pain in elderly hospitalized patients.
Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2010 Nov-Dec;51(3):273-6
Authors: Gianni W, Madaio RA, Di Cioccio L, D'Amico F, Policicchio D, Postacchini D, Franchi F, Ceci M, Benincasa E, Gentili M, Zuccaro SM
Several studies indicate that pain, although very common in the elderly, is under-treated, because it is considered as a concomitant effect of aging. This study aimed to evaluate the prevalence of pain among patients in eight Italian geriatric hospital departments, correlated to prescribed therapy. We enrolled 387 patients in the study, 367 of whom were evaluated. Each patient's recovery, co-morbidity, pain intensity, prescribed therapy, side effects, duration of pain, and efficacy of therapy were monitored during two 15-day periods from 15 July to end of August 2008, and from 1 October to 15 November 2008. The results of this study confirmed that hypertension, cardiopathic disease, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are common pathologies, and that pain is present in 67.3% of those recovered in geriatric departments. In general, however, pain is not treated. Indeed only 49% of those with pain had any type of treatment, which was adequate for the pain intensity. In fact 74.5% of patients considered the therapy to be of low or no efficacy. These data demonstrate the presence of pain in a high percentage of elderly patients, which is either not treated, or treated inadequately. Controlling pain is essential in elderly patients in order to allow a normal life and an active role in family and society. The main conclusion is that pain is often poorly considered in the elderly, thus leading to a dangerous under-treatment. We want to underline the crucial clinical impact of such under-treatment in elderly patients.
PMID: 20031238 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]