Staff in nursing homes fail to relieve residents’ pain, says study

Nursing home residents are suffering from chronic pain in silence, causing depression and reducing quality of life, a Patients Association-commissioned report out today finds.

The study, by research body the Picker Institute, found 90 per cent of the 77 residents interviewed had suffered aches and pains in the past three months, and 85 per cent of them regularly experienced pain.

But just 15 per cent of interviewees said a doctor or nurse had ever talked to them about how their pain could be treated and just 43 per cent had been asked by other home staff about their pain.

This was despite it causing depression in 38 per cent of cases and sleep problems for 59 per cent. All but one of those interviewed took medication to relieve pain, and the study identified a failure in homes to explore alternative solutions to managing pain.

Patients Association spokesperson Katherine Murphy said: “It is unacceptable for healthcare and nursing staff not to be actively relieving chronic pain. There is a desperate need for a more proactive approach.”

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