Geriatric Patients

Elderly persons are prone to multiple medical conditions predisposing them to pain. Estimates suggest that rates of chronic pain among elderly persons are twice those of younger individuals (Crook et al. 1984). The elderly are also likely to experience pain from terminal medical conditions (Cleeland 1998). Among community samples, 20%-50% of older persons reported chronic pain (Crook et al. 1984), whereas among those in long-term-care settings, estimates of chronic pain were substantially higher, approaching 45%-80% (Ferrell 1990; Roy and Thomas 1986; Won et al. 1999). Untreated pain interferes with adaptive functioning, interpersonal functioning, and quality of life. Common disorders contributing to chronic pain include arthritis, cancer, diabetic neuropathy, herpes zoster, and osteoporosis (Ferrell 1991; Gallagher et al. 2000).

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