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With the realization that pain is highly prevalent among older adults, please answer the following questions:
Part One: What are some ways you as the nurse can utilize to determine pain in the older adult?
: What are some of the potential barriers related to self-reporting of pain in the older adult?
Chronic pain is common in older adults but should not be taken as an everyday occurrence. Due to so many barriers, some patients may leave hospitals with unrelieved pain. Undertreatment increases the chances of developing more severe emotional, cognitive, and physical conditions such as anxiety, depression, and sleep problems. Therefore, nurses should perform a thorough pain assessment to prevent these conditions.
As a nurse, I will carry out a thorough pain assessment to an older patient by obtaining the necessary pain history and performing a complete physical examination. For example, getting to know the patient’s age, any medication they might be taking, surgical history, allergies, and cognitive status will help see the risk and degree of pain. The right communication skills are essential in obtaining this information. I will give patients all the time they might require to consider and answer my question. In areas where I fail to get information from the patient, family members can answer questions on their medical history.
I will also use advanced tools such as pain thermometers, face pain scale, and verbal descriptor scale. Before releasing the patient, I will perform a physical exam on the pain complaint area to determine whether the tissue or site has full mobility without any issues. Overall, proper pain assessment is necessary to prevent treatment that could cause more problems.
Communication and cognitive barriers are the main factors that hinder self-reporting for older adults. The majority of adults at such ages experience sensory and motor ability problems that make them have communication difficulties. They will have a hard time explaining or quantifying pain. Worse still, it is hard to observe pain expressions in older adults. Diagnosis of dementia in people of this age group has also posed a challenge in pain assessment. Some patients fear the side effects and addiction that may result from taking pain medications also makes patients fail to self-report their pain. All these factors increase the risks of pain under treatment for the older people population. However, with proper education for healthcare workers, we can overcome such barriers.
Bonham Howe, B. L. (2015). The Gerontology Nurse’s Guide to the Community-Based Health Network [PDF]. Springer Publishing Company, LLC, NY. Retrieved from https://www.pdfdrive.com/the-gerontology-nurses-guide-to-the-community-based-health-network-e177862497.html
Reviews, C. T. (2020). OUTLINES & HIGHLIGHTS FOR GERONTOLOGICAL NURSING: COMPETENCIES FOR CARE BY MAUK, KRISTEN L., ISB. Retrieved from https://www.pdfdrive.com/gerontological-nursing-e34319591.html