The report, Pain in older people: reflections and experiences from an older person’s perspective, aims to highlight the issue of pain in older people by exploring their experiences of living and coping with persistent pain.
Funded by Help the Aged and the British Pain Society, the study saw researchers interview older people about their experiences of pain and how it affected their lives, both physically and psychologically. Literature on pain in older people was also reviewed.
The report — which reveals that nearly five million people over the age of 65 are in some degree of pain and discomfort in the UK — has already led to questions being asked of the Government in the House of Lords.
By interviewing older people, the researchers identified specific themes in the way that they communicate, cope with and experience their pain. These include;• The stiff upper lip — “I understand my generation very well. We learned our attitude to pain from British society in general and from our families. It was: ‘Don’t make a fuss’.”
Claire Rayner OBE, 76, journalist.
Ben Kelk, 68, retired security guard.• An isolating experience — “Your life tends to revolve around pain and yet, at the same time, it’s not something that’s seen as being something you can talk about too much. This is why I use the word ‘lonely’, and I think pain can make you feel lonely because you feel that you’re the only one suffering and can cope with it, and that is a lonely experience.”
Janet Allcock, 73, retired healthcare worker.• Psychological effects — “I worry a lot about my pain and sometimes I think about what I have done in the past and can no longer do for myself and my family. I know that worrying can bring your health down, but I can’t help worrying about it. I find it very difficult to sleep and I am not able to sleep on my side — some nights I cannot sleep at all.”
Nur Uddin, 70, lives with wife and family.• Response of the medical profession — “Doctors sometimes see you as an illness rather than a whole person.”
Janet Allcock, as above.• Not being able to do ‘normal’ things — “It’s the little things that annoy — not being able to paint one’s own toenails, essential with summer sandals! Two walking sticks mean I can’t hold my grandchild’s hand. Small things — yes — but they matter.”
Ben Kelk, as above.
The report raises points for discussion and recommends ways in which agencies dealing with pain in older people — from the Government and policy-makers to the NHS and regulatory bodies — can help address this problem. These include suggestions that primary care trusts should encourage practice nurses and GPs to raise their awareness of the effect of pain in older people, and that Government should fund educational campaigns to do this; specialist pain services need to be tailored to older people and made more accessible; and including standards on pain management on recognised healthcare professional training schemes.
Dr Nick Allcock, Associate Professor in the University’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy and Co-Director of the Nottingham Centre for Evidence Based Nursing and Midwifery, led the study. He said: “Pain in older people is highly prevalent and widely accepted as something to be expected and regarded as ‘normal’ in later life. Hence, suffering associated with persistent pain in older people often occurs without the appropriate assessment and treatment.
“Ageist and discriminatory attitudes towards older people in pain must be challenged and ended. Pain in older people needs to be seen as a priority. It is not a normal part of ageing. Much more can and must be done to improve help and support.
When questioned in the House of Lords on the subject of pain in older people following the release of the report, Lord Darzi of Denham, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department of Health, responded: “As a clinician, I agree that the assessment and management of pain should be at the heart of all good clinical practice. I therefore welcome this report, which sets out the important issues relating to pain in later life and reflects older people's experiences. It will raise awareness of important issues among those responsible for meeting effectively the healthcare needs of their local population.
“It is imperative to understand that no one, irrespective of age, should tolerate pain. I appreciate that awareness in this area is extremely important, because we are living in a century when all of us are getting older and, at the same time, there is a suggestion that pain is a symptom of ageing, which it is not. As far as concerns age discrimination, older people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect in all care settings. This important document will increase awareness among the public and patients. At the same time, it will remind clinicians that they should give higher regard to chronic pain. I take most of the recommendations and could not agree more with some of the other work that has been done in this field.”
Tara de Cozar | alfa
Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
25.10.2016 | Process Engineering