Pain management practices with older adults on acute medical units.
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Persistent pain is a significant problem for older hospitalized adults and their health care team. A better understanding of the approach to pain management in the clinical setting will provide guidance for the development of improvements in clinical management. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of pain and to examine the current state of pain assessment and management in older adults on the six acute medical units of an academic health sciences centre. Findings revealed that 70% of older patients were in pain, nurses had limited awareness of their patients' pain, documentation of pain assessment and management was lacking, and pain was under-treated. Utilization of practice guidelines related to management of persistent pain in older adults in acute care settings is recommended, and an approach to their implementation, including identifying and overcoming the barriers to such best practices, is warranted.
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