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Pain profiling could improve quality of life for older people

Pain profiling in older people can improve quality of life and help target healthcare resources, say researchers. 
Pain profiling

Pain profiling in older people can improve quality of life and help target healthcare resources, suggest researchers from the University of Limerick in Ireland

Picture: iStock

They gathered data on 8,171 people aged 50 and older living in the community, with 65% saying they were not often troubled by pain. The 2,896 people who said were often troubled by pain were asked question such as does the pain make it difficult for you to do your usual activities? and are you taking medication to control the pain?.

The researchers then identified four pain profiles that they said can be used to help manage pain and predict healthcare use by older people, such as GP care and hospital outpatient visits.

For too long we have treated pain as an entity in itself, instead of treating the person in pain, said lead study author Kieran

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Pain profiling in older people can improve quality of life and help target healthcare resources, suggest researchers from the University of Limerick in Ireland 


Picture: iStock

 

They gathered data on 8,171 people aged 50 and older living in the community, with 65% saying they were not often troubled by pain. The 2,896 people who said were often troubled by pain were asked question such as ‘does the pain make it difficult for you to do your usual activities?’ and ‘are you taking medication to control the pain?’.

The researchers then identified four pain profiles that they said can be used to help manage pain and predict healthcare use by older people, such as GP care and hospital outpatient visits.  

‘For too long we have treated pain as an entity in itself, instead of treating the person in pain,’ said lead study author Kieran O’Sullivan. 

‘By better matching pain treatment to the specific needs of each person, quality of life might be enhanced significantly while simultaneously reducing healthcare costs.’ 

 

O’Sullivan K et al (2016) Understanding pain among older persons. Age and ageing. Part 1: doi: 10.1093/ageing/afw131. Part 2: doi: 10.1093/ageing/afw128

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