and Medicine for Seniors
Pain Suffered by Aging Adults is Topic for New Publication
One thing that does not increase your pain - this
magazine is free
By Tucker Sutherland, editor, SeniorJournal.com
NIH MedlinePlus - Published this special in 2011
More about pain
NIH MedlinePlus Magazine, Spring 2011:
Special Section on Managing Chronic Pain.
printable PDF of this issue.
enter “pain” in the Search box.
Clinical Trials: To get information on taking part in
clinical research about chronic pain, visit
NIH Clinical Center: For more about clinical trials at the
NIH Clinical Center, go to
Or call 1-866-999-1112 (TTY 1-866-411-1010).
Communication with your caregiver or care team is the best way
to help you manage or end your chronic pain.
What is causing my pain? What can I do about it?
What is the name of the pain medicine I will be taking?
How long will it take for the medicine to work?
What side effects should I expect?
If I forget to take the pain medicine, what should I do?
When should I take the pain medicine—on a regular schedule?
Before, with, or after meals? At bedtime?
Are there any dangers to taking this pain medicine I should
Will this pain medicine cause problems with any other
prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicines I am
Nov. 19, 2014 – I have to admit I did not see this
coming – a whole publication dedicated to pains suffered by senior
citizens. But, when I stop and think about, I realize it is a major
topic of conversation among many of my senior friends. This subject
choice was made the editors of a new publication series named “From
Policy to Practice” from The Gerontological Society of America (GSA).
Oh, and did I mention it’s free?
This first issue explores pain as a public health
problem and takes a look at how various policies impact the care
provided to patients in a range of practice settings, according to a
It also provides readers with an overview of
provisions of the Affordable Care Act that address pain research,
education, training, and clinical care — as well as steps taken to
implement those provisions. Maybe they should be focusing on provisions
under Medicare and Medicaid, however, it they want to help seniors
relieve their pain. But, actually, the title just says is to improve the
health of “Aging America,” so that’s a pretty broad age group – or is
Interdisciplinary Look at the Potential of Policy to Improve the Health
of an Aging America: Focus on Pain,” as this inaugural
installment is titled, aims to ensure that researchers, practitioners,
educators, and policy makers are aware of major policy issues at
federal, state, and local levels that impact the prevention, assessment,
and treatment of pain, as well as the social and practical supports
required by older adults with pain.
But, I find, GSA is not the first to publish a
magazine about the pain's of seniors. The government's NIH MedlinePlus
magazine in 2011 published a special section focusing on managing
chronic pain. (See the box at top right of page for links.)
GAS says support for their publication was provided
by Purdue Pharma.
The issue was assembled by an “expert panel,”
according to the GSA news release, that was chaired by GSA member Mary
Beth Morrissey, PhD, MPH, JD, of Fordham University.
“This publication will serve as a resource for
policy makers, researchers and practitioners dealing with the
complexities of older adults’ pain experience in diverse social and
cultural contexts,” Morrissey said. “It may also help to inform the
design of broad-based policy and practice responses that encompass both
medical and social services and supports.”
“This publication addresses how public policy
helps to shape responses by medical and long-term care providers to the
needs of older people,” Wiener said. “My hope is that this publication
will draw attention to the regulatory and funding constraints and
incentives that currently exist and motivate changes to reduce pain
among older people in the community, hospitals and nursing homes,
especially at the end of life.”
Chronic pain affects about 100 million American
adults — and costs the nation up to $635 billion each year in medical
treatments and lost productivity, according to the 2011 Institute of
Medicine (IOM) report “Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for
Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research,” which went on
to identify older adults as a population at risk for inadequate
assessment and treatment of pain.
Morrissey called the release of the new GSA
publication very timely, as it follows on the heels of the recently
released IOM report titled “Dying in America: Improving Quality and
Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life,” which recommends
integrated financing of medical and social services for individuals with
serious advanced illness.
“GSA's primary focus in this 2014 report is
bringing attention to the urgent needs of older adults living with pain,
especially chronic pain that is often accompanied by multiple chronic
illnesses,” Morrissey said. “These complex needs call for both
person-centered and public health responses.”
The new issue of From Policy to Practice goes on to
examine current policies in the context of the Affordable Care Act
implementation and structural incentives for integrated and coordinated
care, and highlight the role of policy in helping to eliminate pain
disparities and assure equitable access to appropriate pain care and
management for older Americans.
Morrissey additionally emphasized the value of the
interdisciplinary approach taken by this publication.
“There is robust evidence showing that pain is a
multidimensional experience involving the complex interaction of
sensory, cognitive, emotional, social, cultural and spiritual
dimensions,” she said. “In light of this, it is essential that knowledge
and expertise from across the various disciplines — for example,
medicine, nursing, social work, psychology, pharmacy, and rehabilitation
therapy — be brought to bear on the challenges pain poses for older
adults and their family caregivers through interprofessional and
the issue from GSA's Online Store! It's free for everyone.
Joining Morrissey as faculty for the publication
were GSA Fellows Ann L. Horga, PhD, or the University of Florida; Edward
Alan Miller, PhD, MPA, of the University of Massachusetts, Boston; and
Joshua M. Wiener, PhD, of RTI International.
Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's
oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research,
education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of
the Society — and its 5,500+ members — is to advance the study of aging
and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the
general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the
on an Aging Society, and an educational branch, the
Gerontology in Higher Education.