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Assessment and management of pain in older adults with dementia: a review of current practice and future directions

Schofield, Pat

Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care: June 2008 - Volume 2 - Issue 2 - p 128–132
doi: 10.1097/SPC.0b013e3282ffb406
Pain: nonmalignant disease: Edited by Richard Langford and Sam H. Ahmedzai
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Purpose of review The purpose of this paper is to consolidate the literature around pain assessment and management in older adults with dementia and to make recommendations for future research and practice developments. This review is provided following the introduction of guidelines for the assessment of pain that were published last year.

Recent findings The key issues that have been identified from the literature and will be discussed in this paper are assessment, pharmacotherapy, complementary therapies, education and guidelines.

Summary Pain in older adults has received increasing attention within the literature during the last decade, and in the past 12 months, there have been a number of papers published that highlight several key issues in the area. In terms of pharmacology and complementary therapies, there is still a need to evaluate their use in older adults in general. We have seen guidelines introduced and we need to consider how well these are being implemented. However, most importantly, we are now seeing increasing evidence supporting the use of three behavioural pain assessment scales, which look promising for the future.

Centre of Advanced Studies in Nursing, Department of General Practice & Primary Care, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill Health Centre, Aberdeen, UK

Correspondence to Dr Pat Schofield, Centre of Advanced Studies in Nursing, Department of General Practice & Primary Care, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill Health Centre, Westburn Road, Aberdeen, AB25 2AY, UK Tel: +44 1224 554854; e-mail: p.a.schofield@abdn.ac.uk

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.