Pain Prevalence, Experiences, and Self-Care Management Strategies among the Community-Dwelling Elderly in Taiwan

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Yun-Fang Tsai, PhD, RN
Chang Gung University, School of Nursing, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: understand pain prevalence, experiences, and self-care management strategies among Taiwanese community-dwelling elderly.

Learning Objective 2: understand the importance to perform regular pain assessment among health care providers.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore pain prevalence, experiences, and self-care management strategies among community-dwelling elderly in Taiwan.

Methods: A convenience sample of elderly persons (N=1054) was recruited from outpatient clinics of two hospitals in northern Taiwan.

Results: Participants’ pain prevalence was 50.0% and the average number of pain sites was 3.9 (SD=5.8). Knees were the most commonly described pain site, but the most painful site was the spinal cord area. The mean pain intensity was 3.1 (SD=1.8) and pain interference was 2.8 (SD=2.1). Most participants took prescribed medications to deal with pain; doctors were the main information source for this self-care strategy. Although participants reported using various self-care pain-management strategies, most still reported moderate-to-severe worst pain.

Conclusion: This finding suggests that community-dwelling elders in Taiwan know little about managing pain symptoms. Since health care providers play an important role in helping the elderly to manage pain, the authors recommend training health care providers to perform regular pain assessments and to provide current knowledge about pain assessment and pain-management strategies.