Prevalence of Chronic Cancer and No-Cancer Pain in Elderly Hospitalized Patients: Elements for the Early Assessment of Palliative Care Needs

Benedetta Maltoni, Paola Forti, Marco Zoli, Marco Maltoni, Marianna Ricci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: We studied prevalence of chronic pain, related or not to cancer, in elderly patients, its correlation with socio-clinical factors, and its effects on daily living, to estimate feasibility of an early assessment of palliative care needs in a non-specialist hospital setting. Methods: In this prospective study, a questionnaire concerning pain and multidimensional assessment tools were administered to patients consecutively admitted to a Department of Internal Medicine comprising a Stroke Unit. Results: One hundred patients were recruited, 38 of whom experiencing pain, chronic in 26 patients (68%). A total of 34.3% of patients with pain and 12.5% of patients without pain suffered from depression (P = 0.013). Depressed patients showed significantly higher median values in all Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) scores and items. Depressed patients also obtained less pain relief from therapies. Patients with mild dementia showed, significantly or as a trend, a higher median least, average and “pain right now” pain values. Worst pain values in the previous 24 h increased with age. Only 42% of patients reported to be on pain therapy upon admission to hospital, whereas 62% were undergoing treatment at the time of discharge. A correlation was found between the pain value and the level of interference with daily activities. Pain was mentioned in the discharge letter in 36% of cases. Conclusion: Pain is a critical underestimated problem in elderly patients. A timely systematic evaluation of the pain would call attention to palliative care needs and reduce the negative effects of uncontrolled pain on the quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-185
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Gerontology
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2018

Keywords

  • Elderly patients
  • Pain and activities of daily living
  • Pain and depression
  • Pain assessment
  • Pain prevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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