Pain can be a relentless guest in the lives of many older adults, making their golden years less enjoyable than they should be. While we have become accustomed to pain being a natural part of aging, that is not necessarily true. Pain management in hospice can be complex because it is often intertwined with multiple factors, including chronic health conditions, diminished sensory perception, and emotional distress.
Pain management has become a growing concern among Americans aged 65 and above. A study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) revealed that over half (53%) of older adults surveyed reported experiencing bothersome pain in the last month. Furthermore, three-quarters of those surveyed reported pain in multiple locations.
Two main types of pain
There are two primary types of pain: acute pain and chronic pain. Acute pain is a normal body response to an injury or medical condition. It usually starts suddenly and is short-lived. Chronic pain continues beyond the expected healing time and lasts three months or more. Pain can range from a dull ache to a sharp stab, from mild to extreme. It may be localized in one part of the body or spread throughout.
Practical pain management approaches
Dealing with pain is challenging, particularly since 75% of individuals aged 65 and over have two or more chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease, or arthritis. Despite the high incidence of pain in this population, it is often undertreated. However, some end-of-life pain management strategies can significantly improve the patient’s quality of life.
At Ascend Hospice Care, we are committed to alleviating pain and improving the quality of life for older adults. We aim to provide compassionate care that treats the symptoms and the person as a whole. Our goal is to ensure that every moment of our patients’ golden years is filled with comfort, dignity, and the joy of living life to the fullest.