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An Interdisciplinary Expert Consensus Statement on Assessment of Pain in Older Persons

Hadjistavropoulos, Thomas PhD*; Herr, Keela PhD; Turk, Dennis C. PhD; Fine, Perry G. MD§; Dworkin, Robert H. PhD; Helme, Robert MBBS, PhD; Jackson, Kenneth PharmD; Parmelee, Patricia A. PhD**; Rudy, Thomas E. PhD††; Lynn Beattie, B. MD‡‡; Chibnall, John T. PhD§§; Craig, Kenneth D. PhD∥∥; Ferrell, Betty PhD¶¶; Ferrell, Bruce MD♯♯; Fillingim, Roger B. PhD***; Gagliese, Lucia PhD†††; Gallagher, Romayne MD‡‡‡; Gibson, Stephen J. PhD§§§; Harrison, Elizabeth L. PhD∥∥∥; Katz, Benny MBBS¶¶¶; Keefe, Francis J. PhD♯♯♯; Lieber, Susan J. MS††; Lussier, David MD****; Schmader, Kenneth E. MD††††; Tait, Raymond C. PhD§§; Weiner, Debra K. MD‡‡‡‡; Williams, Jaime MA§§§§

The Clinical Journal of Pain: January 2007 - Volume 23 - Issue - p S1-S43
doi: 10.1097/AJP.0b013e31802be869
Original Article

This paper represents an expert-based consensus statement on pain assessment among older adults. It is intended to provide recommendations that will be useful for both researchers and clinicians. Contributors were identified based on literature prominence and with the aim of achieving a broad representation of disciplines. Recommendations are provided regarding the physical examination and the assessment of pain using self-report and observational methods (suitable for seniors with dementia). In addition, recommendations are provided regarding the assessment of the physical and emotional functioning of older adults experiencing pain. The literature underlying the consensus recommendations is reviewed. Multiple revisions led to final reviews of 2 complete drafts before consensus was reached.

*Centre on Aging and Health

College of Nursing, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

Department of Anaesthesiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

§Pain Research Center

School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne

Department of Pharmacotherapy, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

**Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA

††Department of Anaesthesiology

‡‡Division of Geriatric Medicine

§§School of Medicine, St Louis University, St Louis, MO

∥∥Department of Psychology

¶¶City of Hope National Medical Centre

♯♯David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA

***College of Dentistry, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

†††School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, York University and University Health Network, Toronto, ON

‡‡‡Division of Palliative Care, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

§§§National Ageing Research Institute

∥∥∥School of Physical Therapy, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK

¶¶¶St Vincent's Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

♯♯♯Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center

****Division of Geriatric Medicine and Pain Centre, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada

††††Division of Geriatrics, Duke University and Durham VA Medical Centers, Durham, NC

‡‡‡‡Division of Geriatric Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

§§§§Department of Psychology, University of Regina, Regina

Support for the publication of this supplement was provided by an independent grant from Cephalon, Inc.

Preparation of this article was supported in part by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Emerging Team Grant. Other support was derived from the USPHS Research Grants R01AG18299 and R01AT000985 from the National Institutes of Health.

This article has been endorsed by the executive committee of the International Association's for the Study of Pain Special Interest Group on Pain in Older Adults.

Reprints: Thomas Hadjistavropoulos, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Regina, SK, Canada, S4S 0A2 (e-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.