Study: Non-drug innovations reduce pain in nursing home residents

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Eight steps for effective pain management reduced pain reports from nursing home residents in facilities where drugs were previously distributed as a first option for pain relief, according to a recent study described in Tuesday's New York Times.

Prescribing things such as massages, aromatherapy and even karaoke nights reduced pain reports more frequently than distributing pills, said researchers involved in a study initiated by the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services.

Giving freedom to nurses and nurses' aides to determine effective pain relief was significant in the study, said researcher Dr. David Gifford of Brown University. Nurses using non-drug innovations achieved the greatest success, changing the moods of residents by helping them become more active and recalling happier times, according to Gifford.

Formal pain assessments and regular doctor consultations also played a part in the program, which involved the collaboration of eight large nursing home companies.