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Diane Chau

Diane Chau

University of California, USA

Title: Pain management in geriatric patients


Biography: Diane Chau



  • Understand how to define and classify pain in older adults
  • List social and environmental factors affecting the perception of pain and its treatment common to older adults
  • Recognize the scales available to assess pain
  • List medical and non-medical treatments available for pain


  • Median successful aging increased
  • 65 years represents about 36 million; by 2020 54million
  • Fastest growing segment of the population is > 85 years
  • Currently 5 million, 20 million by 2050
  • 1900’s - 3 million elderly (1 in 25 Americans), by 2020, 54 million (1 in 6 Americans)
  • 2011 - first baby boomers reached 65

Mechanism of Pain Based on Pathophysiology:

  • Nociceptive pain: Results from stimulation of pain receptors.
  • Somatic: damage to body tissue, well localized
  • Visceral: from viscera, poorly localized, may have nausea
  • Neuropathic pain: Results from dysfunctions or lesions in either the central or peripheral nervous systems.
  • Mixed pain syndromes: multiple or unknown mechanisms (e.g. headaches, vasculitic syndromes).
  • Psychogenic Pain: somatoform disorders, conversion reactions.

Challenges of Pain Treatment in Geriatrics:

  • The healthy to hospice span.
  • A healthy retiree is no longer an individual who decreases their lifestyle activities.
  • The "baby-boomers" in their 60s and 70s are "baby boomers"; they have a functional active lifestyle.
  • The older old 80’s to 90’s are diverse. Functional ability, living situation, social support, restricted finances should  be considered.

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