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GSA sets focus on optimizing older adults' pain care

To highlight Pain Awareness Month in September, The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) the nation's largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging is announcing two forthcoming publications focused on pain relief and medication for seniors.

Paired with its other recent research findings, GSA aims to provide readers with information on how new advances in pain prevention, treatment, and management may improve care and quality of life for older adults.

Both new publications are part of GSA's From Publication to Practice series, which aims to promote the translation of research into meaningful health outcomes. They are slated to be released in November 2011.

One of the installments, "An Interdisciplinary Look at Advancing Pain Research, Care, and Education," will be supported by Purdue Pharma, L.P. It will address shortfalls in pain assessment and treatment for older adults with pain. This resource largely will be based on a recent Institute of Medicine report, "Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research."

The other new issue, "An Interdisciplinary Look at Labeling Changes for Acetaminophen and the Implications for Patient Care," will be supported by McNeil Consumer Healthcare. In response to several recent significant modifications to the recommended dosage for acetaminophen, it is being produced in order to ensure that clinicians and aging network professionals are aware of these developments and the subsequent implications for patient care.

These publications join a collection of research that GSA has published within the last year on the subject of pain.

For example, the latest edition of the organization's WHAT'S HOT newsletter demonstrated that improved management of chronic pain can significantly reduce disability in older adults. This issue examines the impact of pain in older adults, strategies for managing pain and preserving function, and methods to improve the assessment and management of pain for residents in long-term care facilities, including those who have dementia. The newsletter points out that pain is a signal that something is wrong, and that reports of pain should not be dismissed simply because the patient is older.

Furthermore, a January 2011 article in the Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences points out that musculoskeletal pain is associated increased mobility disability in older people. A September 2010 study in the same journal found that seniors with moderate to severe musculoskeletal pain had more than twice the risk for impaired balance compared with those without pain.


Contact: Todd Kluss
The Gerontological Society of America

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