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April 25, 2001

Persistent Pain in Nursing Home Residents

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2001;285(16):2081. doi:10.1001/jama.285.16.2081-a

To the Editor: More than 1.5 million people in the United States reside in nursing homes and an estimated 43% of adults 65 years and older will enter a nursing home prior to death.1 Previous research using an early version of the Minimum Data Set (MDS), a nationally mandated nursing home resident assessment instrument, noted that daily pain was prevalent among nursing home residents diagnosed with cancer who had been discharged from a hospital, as well as among the residents of nursing homes in general.2 Prior research was restricted by a limited MDS pain frequency measure of "none" or "daily," but since 1998, information on both frequency (none, daily, or less than daily) and severity of pain (mild, moderate, or excruciating at times) has been collected. We report the rates of persistent severe pain among US nursing home residents by analyzing a national repository of MDS data, which represents all nursing home residents in all 50 states.

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