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About the Pain in Care Homes Interest Group


Pain is connected with emotional, cognitive, and behavioural disorders as well as functional issues. Moreover, chronic pain increases suffering, disability and social isolation which impacts negatively upon a person’s emotional, psychological, emotional and social wellbeing and consequently leads to a reduced quality of life and more years spent living with disability.  People living in care homes (also called Long-Term Care Facilities) are often living with dementia or cognitive impairment, frailty and multiple co-morbid conditions and can experience complex forms of pain. As a consequence, care home residents are likely to experience issues with mental capacity and communication which can impact on their ability to articulate their pain and how this affects them. This has a significant impact on all aspects of their life and well-being. A person living with dementia may exhibit distressed behaviours as a result of experiencing pain and all too often this is considered indicative of a symptom of dementia as opposed to a manifestation of unmanaged pain. Therefore, focusing on improving the identification, assessment and management of pain in residents living in care homes is of the utmost importance.

Description of the aims of the group:

The Pain Interest Group will bring together academics, care home practitioners/managers staff/providers etc. with a shared passion for enhancing and improving pain management for people living in care homes. Pain management includes several aspects such as identification, assessment, pharmacological treatment and prescribing as well as non-pharmacological interventions and management strategies, and monitoring and measuring the outcomes of any pain management interventions.

We will host regular webinars where members will have lively exchanges of views and discussions, and share evidenced-based best practice, new/innovative approaches as well as findings from quality improvement initiatives and research. By collecting these views, approaches and research findings, we will establish an easily accessible platform with practical and scientific tools and methodologies from various perspectives so that the evidence can reach those in practice. This platform can serve as a base for members as well as non-members for enhancing and improving knowledge and opportunities to improve pain management in care homes.

We are open to academics, practitioners, and managers. By facilitating open science, we also aim to include residents, relatives or resident representatives to synthesize the different perspectives into a holistic view on pain management in long-term care. Due to our broad network, we will enhance stepwise the participation of care home managers/staff as well as residents (or their representatives) and relatives. The overall aim is to improve pain assessment and management in long-term care, which is relevant for the residents, their families and carers and staff working in care homes and can lead to enhanced health and well-being and improved experiences and quality of care.


The steering group includes two researchers and an academic clinicians with special interest in the field of pain management and care provision in residential care settings.

Zena Aldridge (NIHR Nursing and Midwifery Team and Independent Dementia Nurse Consultant, United Kingdom)

Manuela Hoedl (Medical University of Graz, Austria)

Sandra Zwakhalen (Maastricht University, Netherlands)