Musculoskeletal pain in older adults at the end-of-life: a systematic search and critical review of the literature with priorities for future research.

John Mcbeth, Alison Kate Lillie, Sue Read, Christian Mallen, Peter Croft, John McBeth

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND: Pain is an important issue in end of life care. Although musculoskeletal pain is common in older adults, it is rarely associated with the cause of death and may be overlooked as death approaches. Hence a major target for improving quality of life may be being missed. METHODS: The aim of this study was to systematically search and critically review the literature on musculoskeletal pain at the end of life. Amed, Cinahl, Internurse, Medline, Psych Info, Web of Knowledge and Cochrane review databases were searched for relevant research up to September 2012. The search strategy combined key words expanding the terms 'palliative' for population, 'musculoskeletal' for exposure, and 'pain' for outcome. Predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied. RESULTS: Five relevant papers and one letter to the editor were found, including case studies and epidemiological research. Current evidence suggests musculoskeletal pain is common in older adults at the end of life and that it can have a substantial impact on individual experience. No information about community based treatment of musculoskeletal pain at the end of life was found. CONCLUSION: Priorities for future research include high quality epidemiological studies to establish the prevalence, natural history, impact, assessment, patient priorities and outcomes associated with musculoskeletal pain in the end of life period, and intervention research that provides an evidence base for treatment.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBMC palliative care
    Volume12
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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