Up to 80 per cent of people in residential aged care have persistent pain, and evidence suggests that pain is often undertreated in the elderly.
Untreated or mismanaged pain ‘can perpetuate the pain condition’, as well as lowering quality of life and having an impact on mental health.
Residents with dementia may be under-treated for pain conditions compared with those without dementia, despite similar levels of potentially painful conditions.
A study where pain was detected in just 31.5 per cent of cognitively impaired residents compared to 61 per cent of cognitively intact residents, despite both having similar incidence of potentially painful conditions.
Our calls for 24/7 Registered Nurse presence and an account of a dying resident in excruciating pain, whose GP was prescribing an increasing amount of pain medication. The dispensing of the pain medication could ‘sometimes take up to five hours’ because the RN was required to attend to 200 residents and was delayed in being present for the resident.
Painaustralia continues to advocate for better pain management across our aged care systems, including providing input to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Terms of Reference, you can see our submission here.