Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the prevalence of pain among older adults in the community and in nursing homes.
  2. Identify complexities of pain assessment in the older adult.
  3. Develop approaches to pain assessment for patients with cognitive impairment
  4. Develop a treatment plan for pain with analgesic pharmacotherapies and integrative strategies for older adults.
  5. Consider advantages, disadvantages, and complications of opioid and non-opioid therapies for older adults.

Target Audiences

Medical students

  • 3rd and 4th year

Dental students

  • 3rd and 4th year

Nursing students:

  • Entry level RN students in select clinical courses
  • Advanced Nursing Practice graduate students in clinical management courses
  • Other graduate nursing students in select clinical leadership or nurse educator courses

Pharmacy students

  • pharmacotherapy seminar, clinical therapeutics, and clinical clerkship

Psychology graduate students

  • 3rd and 4th  year

Social Work graduate students

  • 1st and 2nd year

Summary Statement

The ‘Delores’ Dementia and Discomfort: Care of the Patient with Musculoskeletal Pain and Moderate to Severe Dementia’ case focuses on the challenges of addressing chronic musculoskeletal pain in older adults with cognitive deficits or dementia. 

Learners will be asked, within the scope of perceived practice, to integrate a multiprofessional and interprofessional assessment and treatment plan, while considering the nuances of caring for a patient with limited or absent ability to communicate or articulate symptoms.  Key learning items are embedded within the case description on various levels of profession-specific competencies.

Anticipated environments for incorporating this case include online learning platforms, professional degree programs, residency training programs, and continuing education for practicing medicine, dental, nursing, pharmacy, psychology and social work professionals.  Completion of the module, learning activities, and assessment questions will take approximately 1.5 hours.

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