Comparison of Pain Control Medication in Three Age Groups of Elderly Patients

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There are no published reports of burn pain management in the elderly population. To assess the range of requirement and use of opioids among elderly patients with burns of different age categories, a retrospective review of 89 consecutive admissions of patients over 55 years of age (January 1995 through July 1996) was conducted. Complete data were available on 44 patients with a burn mean total body surface area of 17.2%. Patient ages ranged from 55 to 92 years. Individuals were divided into three age categories: Group I (55 to 65) n = 20; Group II (66 to 75) n = 14; and Group III (76 to 92) n = 10. Use of commonly prescribed opioids for procedural pain and breakthrough pain were evaluated. We compared the opioid equivalents of medications prescribed versus the actual amount administered. Paired t tests comparing minimum amount of medication ordered with that given revealed Group I patients received significantly more procedural medication than the minimum prescribed (t = 3.88, p = 0.001), and that Group III patients were given significantly less as needed medication than the minimum prescribed (t = 2.58, p < 0.05). (J Burn Care Rehabil 1997;18:500–4)

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