June 2018

Pain in aged care

Under the aged care quality standards, providers are responsible for ensuring all care recipients are as free as possible from pain.

With Pain Awareness Week coming up in July, we take a look at events, resources and courses focusing on pain management in aged care services.

According to Pain Australia website, one in three people aged over 65 are living with chronic pain - and around 80% of people in residential aged care report pain as a problem.

People with dementia who experience pain may have difficulty communicating this to care staff, which can lead to their pain being under-treated.  Pain may go undetected in as many as half of those with dementia and chronic pain conditions – according to Pain Australia. This can lead to increased depression and functional disability along with behavioural problems such as aggression, wandering and disruptive vocalisation.

Learning to recognise, respond to, and treat pain in aged care requires a multi-pronged approach that supports communication and training of care staff, as well as clinical care approaches.

‘Pain’ resources

‘Pain’ Events

  • Pain Awareness Week is 23-29 July 2018 in Australia. Chronic Pain Australia is hosting the National Pain Week website.
  • Wound Awareness Week running from 15-21 July 2018 puts the spotlight on chronic wounds, and wound complications such as bed sores and leg ulcers.

‘Pain’ courses

Training care staff in pain management can provide great benefits for the quality of life of care recipients, and give more confidence to their carers.

There are a variety of training courses available including:

Pain Australia

The training web page provides a detailed list of links to courses on pain management.  

Mundipharma

Mundipharma’s PANACEA (Pain Advocacy Nurse in Aged Care, for Education & Assessment) Program aims to help aged care organisations implement The Australian Pain Society’s best practice standards. The program development and materials, as well as the service provided to implement the program, are offered at no charge to aged care organisation groups. The program includes interactive facilitator workshops aimed at enhancing pain education and empowering staff to identify and appropriately assess pain in an aged care setting. For details, see www.mundipharma.com.au/education/panacea/

For more information about pain and aged care, visit the websites of: Pain Australia, The Australian Pain Society, Dementia Training Australia and Chronic Pain Australia.