Back to Journals » Clinical Interventions in Aging » Volume 11

Analgesic use among nursing homes residents, with and without dementia, in Poland

Authors Neumann-Podczaska A, Nowak T, Suwalska A, Lojko D, Krzymińska-Siemaszko R, Kozak-Szkopek E, Wieczorowska-Tobis K

Received 28 November 2015

Accepted for publication 20 January 2016

Published 21 March 2016 Volume 2016:11 Pages 335—340


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Agnieszka Neumann-Podczaska,1 Tomasz Nowak,2 Aleksandra Suwalska,3 Dorota Łojko,4 Roma Krzymińska-Siemaszko,2 Elżbieta Kozak-Szkopek,5 Katarzyna Wieczorowska-Tobis2

1Department of Geriatrics and Gerontology, 2Department of Palliative Medicine, Laboratory of Geriatrics, 3Department of Psychiatry, Laboratory of Neuropsychobiology, 4Department of Adult Psychiatry, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, 5Department of Geriatrics, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland

Abstract: Many age-associated diseases are accompanied by pain. There is no doubt that pain is underrecognized among elderly nursing home residents and the diagnosing of pain is a real challenge in subjects with dementia. The aim of the study was to characterize analgesic use among nursing home residents and to delineate the putative associations between pain management and cognitive functions of elderly persons. The study involved 392 subjects (males:females – 81:311) with a mean age of 83.6±5.9 years. The residents’ medical files in relation to diagnoses and drug consumption were analyzed, and the screening of cognitive functions was performed using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). One hundred and thirteen residents (28.8%) received some analgesics. Among them 84 (21.4%) used them routinely, 25 (6.4%) – pro re nata (PRN) and four (1.0%) – both routinely and PRN. Non-opioid analgesics were taken routinely by 53 residents, weak opioids by nine subjects, and one person was receiving strong opioids. Additionally, three individuals were taking a combination preparation of tramadol and acetaminophen. The rate of subjects who were not receiving any pain treatment was higher in residents with MMSE between 0 and 9 points than in those with MMSE between 24 and 30 points (P=0.0151). Furthermore, ten residents (9.1%) with severe dementia were treated with analgesics PRN. The results of our study point to a remarkably low use of analgesics in nursing home residents in Poland and indicate a need to introduce pain evaluation and monitoring of drug treatment appropriateness as a standard procedure in the geriatric assessment in nursing homes.

Keywords: pain, the elderly, analgesics, dementia, Mini-Mental State Examination, multimorbidity

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]