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The Quality of Pain Treatment in Community-Dwelling Persons with Dementia.

Li J, Snow AL, Wilson N, Stanley MA, Morgan RO, Sansgiry S, Kunik ME. The Quality of Pain Treatment in Community-Dwelling Persons with Dementia. Dementia and geriatric cognitive disorders extra. 2015 Sep 1; 5(3):459-70.

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BACKGROUND/AIMS: Despite pervasive and debilitating pain among elders, it is underassessed and undertreated; and cognitive impairment can add challenges. We assessed the quality of pain care for community-dwelling elderly patients with dementia. METHODS: We phone interviewed 203 Veterans Affairs primary care outpatients with dementia and pain and reviewed medical records to score 15 quality indicators of pain assessment and management. RESULTS: Pain assessment was documented for 98%, and a standard pain scale was used for 94%. Modified pain scales were rarely used. Though 70% self-reported pain of ''quite bad'' or worse, charts documented no pain in 64%. When pain was identified, treatment was offered to 80%; but only 59% had a follow-up assessment within 6 months. Nonpharmacological interventions were underused. CONCLUSION: Community-dwelling elders with dementia are underdiagnosed and undertreated for pain.

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