Pain is common in the aging population, particularly among older residents of nursing homes. It has been found that 50% of older people living in the community have been experiencing chronic pain, and the number increased to 80% for older residents of nursing homes. Exercise is an effective non-pharmacological intervention that can reduce pain and improve physical and psychological functions. A quasi-experimental study with a pretest-posttest control group designed was conducted to evaluate the effects of a physical exercise program (PEP) on older residents of nursing homes who have chronic pain. Three-hundred-ninety-six older residents with chronic pain were recruited from 10 nursing homes run by non-governmental organizations in Hong Kong. The average age of the older residents was 85.44±6.29. Five nursing homes were randomized to the experimental group with PEP (n=225, age=85.45±6.25); the other five nursing homes were randomized to the control group without the PEP (n=171, age=85.44±6.35). PEP was an eight-week training program given by a physiotherapist and nurses once a week. It consisted of warm-up exercises, muscle strengthening, stretching, balancing, and self-administered massage to acupressure points. At the end of each PEP session, pamphlets with pictures illustrating the "exercise of the day" were given to the older residents of nursing homes as a tool to enhance their self-management skills. The control group received no training during the eight weeks. Upon completion of the PEP, the experimental group experienced a significantly greater reduction in pain intensity from 4.19±2.25 (on an 11 point scale) to 2.67±2.08, as compared to the control group (p < .05). In addition, the psychological well-being (happiness, loneliness, life satisfaction, and depression) of the experimental group was significantly improved (p < .05).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Advanced and Specialised Nursing