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
Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.07.2018 | Life Sciences
16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences