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VHA Pain Management, Opioid Safety, and PDMP

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For Providers - Specific Populations - Pain in Older Veterans

For Providers - Specific Population - Elder

This section provides tools addressing "Pain in Older Veterans," developed for providers.

Chronic pain care in the older Veteran can represent a number of unique challenges. The risks of acute and long term opioid therapy can increase as patients age. In addition the risks associated with other medications may also increase. Medical comorbidities also need to be addressed as they may contribute to painful symptoms as well as increase risks associated with therapy. For many older Veterans non-pharmacologic therapies are actually more effective than many clinicians realize when modified to meet the individual needs of the patient.

Chronic pain is one of the most common, costly, and incapacitating conditions in older adults. Managing pain in older adults can be complex because of age-related physiologic changes, associated medical and mental health comorbidities, polypharmacy, increases in pain thresholds, decreases in pain tolerance, and alterations in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics that increase the risk of side effects from pharmacologic treatment. Effective pain management for older adults requires an understanding of the special considerations associated with the physiology of aging, validated assessment tools, common pain presentations in the older adult population,and the use of evidence-informed CPGs for common conditions such as low-back pain.

National Council on Aging (NCOA) - Issue Brief: Implementing Evidence-Based Programs to Address Chronic Pain
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Providers Pain Management - Resource Topics

Stay Current site Whole Person Pain Care site Team-Based Pain Care Site  Specific Population site 

Literature Alerts for VA Staff

The VA Library Network will provide VA staff an index of recent articles related to opioids and many other areas of interest right to your work mailbox. If you are interested in subscribing to this alert click here.

Disclaimer: *Links will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs Website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked websites.