Pharmacological approaches for the management of persistent pain in older adults: What nurses need to know Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Back Pain
  • Cognitive Therapy
  • Exercise Therapy


  • HOW TO OBTAIN CONTACT HOURS BY READING THIS ARTICLE INSTRUCTIONS 1.4 contact hours will be awarded by Villanova University College of Nursing upon successful completion of this activity. A contact hour is a unit of measurement that denotes 60 minutes of an organized learning activity. This is a learner-based activity. Villanova University College of Nursing does not require submission of your answers to the quiz. A contact hour certificate will be awarded once you register, pay the registration fee, and complete the evaluation form online at To obtain contact hours you must: 1. Read the article, "Pharmacological Approaches for the Management of Persistent Pain in Older Adults: What Nurses Need to Know" found on pages 49-57, carefully noting any tables and other illustrative materials that are included to enhance your knowledge and understanding of the content. Be sure to keep track of the amount of time (number of minutes) you spend reading the article and completing the quiz. 2. Read and answer each question on the quiz. After completing all of the questions, compare your answers to those provided within this issue. If you have incorrect answers, return to the article for further study. 3. Go to the Villanova website listed above to register for contact hour credit. You will be asked to provide your name; contact information; and a VISA, MasterCard, or Discover card number for payment of the $20.00 fee. Once you complete the online evaluation, a certificate will be automatically generated. This activity is valid for continuing education credit until November 30, 2019. CONTACT HOURS This activity is co-provided by Villanova University College of Nursing and SLACK Incorporated. Villanova University College of Nursing is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. ACTIVITY OBJECTIVES 1. Describe age-related barriers to pain assessment and key aspects of the assessment process. 2. Identify benefits and risks associated with commonly prescribed analgesic medications for the treatment of later life pain. DISCLOSURE STATEMENT Neither the planners nor the authors have any conflicts of interest to disclose. The current article addresses pharmacological treatment issues regarding the management of persistent pain in later life, which is a worldwide problem associated with substantial disability. Recommendations from guidelines were reviewed and data are presented regarding the benefits and risks of commonly prescribed analgesic medications. The evidence base supports a stepwise approach with acetaminophen as first-line therapy for mild-to-moderate pain. Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are not recommended for long-term use. In properly selected older patients, opioid drugs should be considered if pain is not adequately controlled. Careful surveillance to monitor for benefits and harms of therapy is critical, given that advancing age increases risk for adverse effects. Key aspects of the pain care process that nurses routinely engage in are covered, including conducting pain assessments prior to initiating therapy, addressing barriers to effective pain care, educating patients and family members about the importance of reducing pain, discussing treatment-related risks and benefits, and formulating strategies to monitor for treatment outcomes. Finally, a case is presented to illustrate issues that arise in the care of affected patients. [Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 42(12), 49-57.].

publication date

  • January 2016



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC5472205

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3928/00989134-20161110-09

PubMed ID

  • 27898136

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 49

end page

  • 57


  • 42


  • 12