Pain in patients living in Norwegian nursing homes

Palliat Med. 2009 Jan;23(1):8-16. doi: 10.1177/0269216308098800. Epub 2008 Oct 24.


The aims of this study were to describe the pain and use of pain medication in nursing home patients and examine which variables that were associated with pain. Inpatients (n = 307) older than 64 years from nursing homes were included. Pain was measured with a 4-point verbal rating scale in the self-reported group (SRG) and Doloplus-2 in the proxy-rated group (PRG). The mean age was 86 years (SD, 7), and more than two-thirds were female. A total of 128 (60%) patients were able to self-report their pain. Approximately 50% of the SRG reported 'pain now', and of these, nearly 50% reported moderate or severe pain intensity. Better cognitive function was associated with higher pain and receiving more potent pain medication in the SRG. The pain prevalence in the PRG was higher than in the SRG (67.5% vs 51%), but no variable was associated with proxy-rated pain. Nearly 30% in the SRG and 40% in the PRG did not receive pain medication in spite of pain. Pain is still a huge problem in the nursing homes, and more research is needed on pain management in nursing home residents.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Homes for the Aged
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Nursing Homes / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain* / drug therapy
  • Pain* / epidemiology
  • Pain* / psychology


  • Analgesics