Profile of pain and use of pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods for relieving pain in older persons in nursing homes

Mun Yee Mimi Tse, Vanessa T.C. Wan, Suki S.K. Ho

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Aim to investigate the prevalence of pain and the use of analgesic drug and non-drug therapy among older persons in nursing homes. This was a cross-sectional study. Six nursing homes were approached,and a total of 365 older persons interviewed. Information collected regarding their demographic data, pain situation and use of analgesic drug and non-drug methods as pain relief. Results: There were 365 older adult participants (248 female and 117 male, mean age 84.7 ± 6.73). Among them, 249 (i.e. 70%) had experienced pain over the previous 3 months, with a pain score of 4.45 ± 2.44 (on a 10-point scale); pain location was mainly in the hip, ankle and knee; and over 40% indicated having suffered pain at all. Fifty percent had taken oral analgesics for pain control, and around 50% used non-pharmacological methods such as applying topical ointment, massage, and use of cold or hot pads in treating pain. Only 40% of them used both pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods of pain control. Disturbingly, 14.5% of participants were suffering from pain but had not received any form of pain control. Discussion: The problem of older persons with pain is serious in nursing homes. Education on the appropriate use of analgesics should be given to the elderly to reduce their worries regarding adverse drug effects. Also, older persons can be introduced to non-drug therapy such as physiotherapy, acupressure and distraction. Effective pain management can reduce the pain intensity and enhance functional mobility and psychological well-being among nursing home residents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-317
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pain Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010


  • Analgesic drugs
  • Non-drug methods
  • Nursing home
  • Older persons
  • Pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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