In a recent study of emergency department files, there was a distinct difference found between the treatment of middle-aged patients and those considered elderly.
Though this variance may not exist across the board, it was clear that elderly patients reporting pain were significantly less likely to receive treatment in the form of medication than their younger counterparts.
More than twenty million people over the age of sixty-five report to the emergency room each year and a very large percentage of those cases involve a report of intense pain. Yet, it was found that just forty-nine percent of the elderly patients (over the age of seventy-five) reporting pain received medication to alleviate it. This was compared to more than sixty-eight percent of the individuals considered to be middle-aged.
The older group – regardless of race, sex, and pain severity – was, on average, 19.6 percent less likely to be treated with a painkiller.
The reason for the discrepancy is not known. Further research is needed to develop a better understanding of this, the potential side effects of medications that might cause doctors to avoid prescribing them, as well as to develop a strategy to better help those in need.
For more information about the pain-related treatment study, visit www.sciencedaily.com