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Documenting and treatment of pain falls as cognitive impairment increases

Pain management drugs less prevalent in nursing home residents with severe impairment

Pain is less frequently documented in nursing home residents with cancer and severe cognitive impairment than in other residents, a large study shows.

University of Massachusetts Medical School researchers found cognitive impairment may lead to less frequent use of treatments for pain.

The study looked at the records of more than 367,000 newly admitted US nursing home residents with a cancer diagnosis in 2011–12. About 337,000 had self-reported pain and 31,000 staff-reported pain.

Dementia affects about 50% of nursing home residents on admission and it is known that patients with cognitive impairment are at high risk of under-treatment of pain.

In residents self-reporting, pain was reported by 68% of those with no or mild cognitive impairment, 56% with moderate impairment and


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