Literature review of pain prevalence among older residents of nursing homes

Pain Manag Nurs. 2010 Dec;11(4):209-23. doi: 10.1016/j.pmn.2010.08.006.


Pain is a common symptom among older residents of nursing homes and can lead to adverse effects such as a decrease in the activities of daily living and quality of life. Existing literature on the prevalence of pain among older residents of nursing homes was reviewed. Of the studies that were reviewed here, 27 met the criteria of this study, and these were selected for further analysis. These studies were published from 1990 to 2009. There was a slight increase in the number of studies on this topic from 2004 onwards. It was clear that older residents commonly suffer from pain and other serious problems related to pain. The prevalence of pain in these studies appeared to be related to the research methods and data sources used as well as to the time frame of pain detection. Therefore, the results of such prevalence studies should be interpreted cautiously. It was also reported that higher pain intensity led to greater limitations in the activities of daily living. Insufficient use of analgesics for treating residents with pain was often reported, particularly in residents with a low cognitive status. Health professionals should be aware of the serious issues related to pain among nursing home residents and the fundamental right to have pain assessed and treated to the greatest extent possible.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Geriatric Nursing*
  • Humans
  • Nursing Homes / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pain / epidemiology*
  • Pain / nursing*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Prevalence