Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines on management of pain in older people

Aza Abdulla, Margaret Bone, Nicola Adams, Alison M. Elliott, Derek Jones, Roger Knaggs, Dennis Martin, Elizabeth L. Sampson, Patricia Schofield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


Pain in older people is not only under-recognised, but is also under-treated. Many professional bodies have documented that pain in this rapidly growing population is poorly controlled [1–7]. This may be related to attitudes and beliefs held by older people, which in turn affects their reporting of pain [8] but also due to misconceptions and educational deficits by health professionals [9, 10]. Treatment when prescribed is often limited to basic medication seldom tailored to the individual [11–14]. There is also a general failure by professionals to consider alternative pain relief options [2]. No doubt more needs to done and national guidance on the management of pain in older people is long overdue.

Older people are different; the bio-physiological changes that occur with ageing, the accumulation of co-morbidities and co-prescription of medication, frailty and psychosocial changes make older people rather unique when considering treatment modalities for pain control.

The British Geriatric Society and British Pain Society have collaborated to produce the first UK guideline on the management of pain in older people. The recommendations follow an extensive systematic review of the available literature and will help health professionals consider the options available when managing pain in older patients.

The guideline has been categorised into sections dealing with pharmacology, interventional therapies, psychological interventions, physical activity and assistive devices and complementary therapies. This article provides a summary of the recommendations. The full guideline is available in the supplement accompanying this issue of the journal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-153
Number of pages3
JournalAge and Ageing
Issue number2
Early online date18 Jan 2013
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


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