Relieving Seniors’ Pain
A whopping one-third of Americans -- many of them older adults -- suffer from significant pain that takes a heavy toll on the health care system, the economy, and personal well-being. Yet the problem is largely undertreated. The Gerontological Society of America recently drew attention to this issue in a new publication that offers a blueprint for transforming pain care. GSA is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging.
Two studies in GSA's January 2012 "From Publication to Practice" series address the twin issues of pain relief strategies for older adults and the recent FDA labeling changes for acetaminophen.
“Taken together, these two new resources will enable the gerontological community to identify opportunities to improve pain management services,” said Cathy Alessi, MD, the 2011 chair of GSA’s Health Sciences Section. “Research indicates that severe pain in older adults leads to a decreased quality of life, including both satisfaction with life and health-related quality of life.”
One of the articles, entitled “An Interdisciplinary Look at Advancing Pain Care, Education, and Research: Responding to the IOM’s Call to Action To Improve Pain Management,” not only looks at deficits in assessment and treatment for older adults with pain but also puts forth actionable information for health care providers, researchers, policy makers, educators, caregivers, and patients about a recent Institute of Medicine report, “Relieving Pain in America."