Lack of opioid administration in older hip fracture patients (CE)

Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


NLM Title Abbreviation

Geriatr Nurs

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Geriatric nursing

PubMed ID


DOI of Published Version


Start Page



As part of a multisite study funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the medical records of older adults with a hip fracture were abstracted for acute pain assessment and treatment practices. Of the 709 records reviewed, 8 patients did not have an opioid administered during the first 72 hours after admission to a non-intensive patient care unit. Using a case study approach, this article examines demographic characteristics, pain assessment, and analgesic administration for these 8 patients to illustrate specific practice problems that occur in managing acute pain in older adults. Pain intensity was documented infrequently. All 8 patients had a physician order for some type of analgesic, and 7 of the 8 had an order for an opioid analgesic. Yet none received an opioid during the first 72 hours of care on a general medical-surgical unit, and one patient received no analgesia of any kind. The medical records of these hip fracture patients indicate that acute pain was underassessed and undertreated. Provision of quality pain management will require that nurses address the specific practice behaviors identified in the article and correct problems where they exist. Key strategies that can be used to improve pain management practices include implementation of standardized assessment tools and pain flow-sheets, audit and feedback of pain management data with staff, use of pain management opinion leaders and change champions, and incorporation of research-based pain management practices into performance-evaluation criteria.


Analgesics, Opioid -- Administration and Dosage -- In Old Age, Hip Fractures -- Drug Therapy -- In Old Age, Hip Surgery -- In Old Age, Postoperative Pain -- Drug Therapy -- In Old Age, Acetaminophen -- Administration and Dosage, Aged, Aged, 80 and Over, Case Studies, Descriptive Statistics, Education, Continuing (Credit), Female, Hospitals, Interrater Reliability, Male, Medical Records, Midwestern United States, Pain Measurement, Postoperative Pain -- Nursing, Random Sample, Record Review, Retrospective Design, Human

Published Article/Book Citation

Geriatric nursing, 24:6 (2003) pp.353-.

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