Pain is a major problem in the nursing home population, with a prevalence range of 27% to 84%. Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage (International Association for the Study of Pain, 2008). It has an impact on many aspects of a person's emotional, social, and physical functioning, and on quality of life (QoL) The purpose of this study was to describe pain and QoL in a nursing home population that could self-report pain and to examine the association between QoL and pain in these patients. Pain was measured by a verbal rating scale from "no pain" to "severe pain." Quality of life was measured by the Dementia Quality of Life Questionnaire (DQoL) consisting of five domains: self-esteem, positive affect/humor, feeling of belonging, and sense of esthetics and negative affect. Totally, 106 patients, with a mean age of 86 years (SD 6.5, range 65-102) with a Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) score >11 were included, and 87% had mild or moderate reduced cognitive function. In total, 55% reported pain, and out of those, 55% reported mild, 29% moderate, and 16% severe pain. A significant association was found between scores on the negative affect domain and reported pain (t = 3.17; p < .01) and pain intensity (r = 0.40; p < .01). No significant associations were found between the other domains and pain. This study shows that pain has a negative effect on mood. Examining the relationship between pain and negative feelings in persons with reduced cognitive function may suggest new areas of intervention for reducing pain and negative feelings in this patient population.
Copyright 2010 American Society for Pain Management Nursing. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.