In collaboration with the interdisciplinary team, the nurse competent in pain management for older adults has knowledge and skill to:

  1. Explain and apply information to clarify common misconceptions about pain in older adults and the barriers to effective treatment.
  2. Explain the etiologies and characteristics of, and differences in treatment for, nociceptive and neuropathic pain.
  3. Explain potential consequences of untreated pain specific to older adults.
  4. Select and use valid and reliable pain assessment tools for assessing pain in cognitively intact individuals.
  5. Describe approach to identifying and evaluating pain in cognitively impaired older adults, including selecting and using valid and reliable pain assessment tools.
  6. Recognize verbal and nonverbal behaviors which can be indicative of pain in a cognitively impaired person.
  7. Apply information about specific physiological age-related factors that influence the assessment and management of pain in older adult.
  8. Develop and implement an individualized treatment plan for managing pain based on assessment, functional and cognitive abilities, and the older person’s pain treatment goals.
  9. Evaluate the effectiveness of an individualized treatment plan for pain and adapt the plan based on changing pain assessment data.
  10. Identify appropriate analgesic drugs and doses, taking into account the physiologic changes commonly seen in older individuals and interactions with other prescribed and over-the-counter medications.
  11. Identify medications that should be avoided or used with caution in older adults and explain their adverse effects.
  12. Identify and implement treatment strategies to avoid the adverse effects of analgesic drugs in older adults with renal and hepatic impairment.
  13. Recognize common side effects of opioids and apply treatment strategies to prevent, minimize and/or treat side effects.
  14. Identify characteristics of older adults at risk for adverse effects of prolonged use of NSAIDS.
  15. Incorporate appropriate adjuvant drugs into the treatment plan for select painful conditions.
  16. Select appropriate non-pharmacological pain treatment strategies tailored to the unique needs, abilities and preferences of the older adult.
  17. Explain the role of the interdisciplinary team in pain management.
  18. Advocate for timely and appropriate treatment of pain for all older adults in the long-term care setting.
  19. Articulate accreditation and regulatory requirements pertinent to long-term-care settings related to pain management.