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Nurse Assistant’s Role in Identifying and Addressing Pain in Older Adults lesson 1

August 30, 2014

Module 1: Identifying and Assessing Pain in Your Patients

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this module, nurse assistants will be able to:

  • Define pain.
  • List at least three common causes of pain in older adults.
  • Identify how common pain is in nursing home residents.
  • Describe at least four consequences of poorly managed pain for the older person.
  • State six questions you should ask when conducting a pain assessment on residents who can tell you how they feel.
  • Describe at least five signs of pain in older adults.


Key Content:

I)        Definition of Pain

II)      Common Causes of Pain in the Older Adult

III)    Consequences of Poorly Managed Pain

IV)   Signs and Symptoms That a Resident is Experiencing Pain

a)      The verbal resident

b)      The nonverbal resident


VIDEOS #1-“Pain and the Brain” is a video of a public lecture about pain at the University of California-San Francisco. The speaker, Dr. Alan Basbaum, is a nationally known expert on pain.  The video is an hour and a half in length, but provides excellent information on pain and some interesting teaching strategies.


Video #2- “Interviewing Vulnerable Elders (VIVE) MDS 3.0” demonstrates how to administer sections of the MDS 3.0 to residents. It highlights some important considerations in interviewing older residents. It will be helpful to listen to the Introduction and then move the video to the pain assessment section.



Resources-  Online Readings

End of Life/Palliative Education Resource Center (EPERC) – offers many educational resources without a charge.  http://www.eperc.mcw.edu/