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A retrospective review of pain management in Tasmanian residential aged care facilities


Veal, F and Williams, M and Bereznicki, L and Cummings, E and Winzenberg, T, A retrospective review of pain management in Tasmanian residential aged care facilities, BJGP Open, 3, (1) pp. 1-8. ISSN 2398-3795 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 The Author(s) Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.3399/bjgpopen18X101629


Background: The management of pain by GPs for residents of aged care facilities (ACFs) is very common.

Aim: To measure the prevalence and assess the management of pain in ACF residents, particularly those with dementia.

Design & setting: A retrospective review of ACF residents’ medical records was undertaken at five southern Tasmanian (Australia) ACFs.

Method: Data extracted included results of the most recent assessment of pain and its management, frequency and treatment of pain incidents in the previous 7 days, demographics, and medical and medication history. Univariate analysis was used to identify variables associated with increased frequency of pain episodes.

Results: The final analysis included 477 residents. At least one episode of pain in the preceding 7 days was documented in 25.6% (n = 122) of residents’ notes. Pain episodes were most commonly managed by analgesics (45.5%), massage (40.7%), and heatpacks (13.8%). Residents with dementia were not less likely to have pain identified during the past week (14% versus 20%; P = 0.09), but they were much less likely to have pain identified on their most recent pain assessment (P = 0.03).

Conclusion: should carefully consider the suitability of using ‘as required’ analgesics. Furthermore, on admission to an ACF, GPs need to ensure a patient’s medical history includes all pain or potentially pain-causing conditions, to ensure that a resident’s pain assessment is complete. This is especially necessary for those with dementia, to ensure that staff remain vigilant about the possibility of the resident experiencing pain.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:pain, aged care, elderly
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences
Research Field:Clinical pharmacy and pharmacy practice
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Provision of health and support services
Objective Field:Allied health therapies (excl. mental health services)
UTAS Author:Veal, F (Ms Felicity Veal)
UTAS Author:Williams, M (Dr Mackenzie Williams)
UTAS Author:Bereznicki, L (Professor Luke Bereznicki)
UTAS Author:Cummings, E (Associate Professor Liz Cummings)
UTAS Author:Winzenberg, T (Professor Tania Winzenberg)
ID Code:131221
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Pharmacy
Deposited On:2019-03-06
Last Modified:2020-02-24
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