A Brief Educational Intervention About Pain and Aging for Older Members of the Community and Health Care Workers

  • Lucia Gagliese
    Address reprint requests to Lucia Gagliese, Department of Anesthesia, University Health Network, 200 Elizabeth St, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2C4 Canada.
    School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Department of Anesthesia and Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, Ontario Cancer Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Department of Anesthesia and Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    University of Toronto Centre for the Study of Pain, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Laura Katz
    Department of Psychology, Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
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  • Maggie Gibson
    Veterans Care Program, St. Joseph's Health Care, London, Ontario, Canada
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  • Alexander J. Clark
    Pain Services, Capital Health, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

    Department of Anesthesia, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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  • David Lussier
    Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal, University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    Division of Geriatric Medicine and Alan-Edwards Centre for Research on Pain, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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  • Allan Gordon
    Department of Neurology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    University of Toronto Centre for the Study of Pain, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Michael W. Salter
    Department of Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    University of Toronto Centre for the Study of Pain, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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      Developing educational interventions about pain may lead to improved pain management for older people. A public group educational session, entitled “Pain in the Older Person,” was presented in 7 cities across Canada (Vancouver, Calgary, London, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Halifax). The presentation lasted approximately 90 minutes and was followed by a question and answer period of at least 20 minutes. Prior to the educational session, participants provided demographic data and completed measures of pain intensity, frequency, interference, and treatment; of subjective health; and of knowledge about pain. Following the session, participants completed the same knowledge items again as well as items assessing satisfaction. Data were provided by 54 health care workers (HCW) and 54 older community members (66.3 ± 10.2 years old). Prior to the educational session, knowledge gaps were evident among the older community members, especially about analgesic use. Among the HCW, knowledge gaps were found about addiction and the relationship between pain and aging. Comparison of knowledge scores before and after the educational session revealed that both groups demonstrated significant knowledge gains. Satisfaction scores were very high, with no significant difference between HCW and older community members. This is the first study to show that a brief educational intervention is associated with gains in knowledge about pain and aging among both older community members and HCW. These results suggest that a brief public educational session is a promising method of pain education that may reduce barriers to pain management in older people.


      This article describes the results of a brief public educational session about pain and aging attended by older members of the community and health care workers. This intervention could potentially improve pain management for older people.

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