Pain in Critically Ill Older Patients

  • Marie-Madlen JeitzinerEmail author
  • Béatrice Jenni-Moser
  • Thekla Brunkert
  • Franziska Zúñiga
Part of the Perspectives in Nursing Management and Care for Older Adults book series (PNMCOA)


Pain is a common symptom in patients treated in an intensive care unit (ICU) and can be particularly distressing for older patients. Pain is reported by more than half of the patients treated in an ICU, and up to 75% of all medical and surgical ICU patients report the intensity of their pain as moderate to severe. Extrinsic factors such as medical and nursing treatments, or intrinsic factors such as underlying diseases, are important causes of pain. These factors are often very invasive. This chapter, which focuses on pain in critically ill older patients, shows that treating pain requires an interdisciplinary collaboration, including nurses, physicians, and the other healthcare professionals that are involved in treating patients in the ICU. The entire organization or institution must ensure the establishment of interdisciplinary pain management in order to treat pain adequately. The literature recommends using a numerical rating scale for self-assessment of pain, or a behavioral assessment scale for patients who are unable to express themselves verbally. Patient-oriented, individual treatment goals in terms of pain and analgesia management are shown to be effective in reducing pain. Pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments help older patients reduce their pain.


Older patients Critical care Pain 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marie-Madlen Jeitziner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Béatrice Jenni-Moser
    • 1
  • Thekla Brunkert
    • 2
  • Franziska Zúñiga
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Intensive Care MedicineUniversity Hospital Bern (Inselspital), University of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department Public HealthPT Institute of Nursing Science, Basel UniversityBaselSwitzerland

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