A Goal Attainment Pain Management Program for Older Adults with Arthritis

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to test a pain management intervention that integrates goal setting with older adults (age ≥65) living independently in residential settings. This preliminary testing of the Goal Attainment Pain Management Program (GAPMAP) included a sample of 17 adults (mean age 79.29 years) with self-reported pain related to arthritis. Specific study aims were to: 1) explore the use of individual goal setting; 2) determine participants' levels of goal attainment; 3) determine whether changes occurred in the pain management methods used and found to be helpful by GAPMAP participants; and 4) determine whether changes occurred in selected pain-related variables (i.e., experience of living with persistent pain, the expected outcomes of pain management, pain management barriers, and global ratings of perceived pain intensity and success of pain management). Because of the small sample size, both parametric (ttest) and nonparametric (Wilcoxon signed rank test) analyses were used to examine differences from pretest to posttest. Results showed that older individuals could successfully participate in setting and attaining individual goals. Thirteen of the 17 participants (76%) met their goals at the expected level or above. Two management methods (exercise and using a heated pool, tub, or shower) were used significantly more often after the intervention, and two methods (exercise and distraction) were identified as significantly more helpful. Two pain-related variables (experience of living with persistent pain and expected outcomes of pain management) revealed significant change, and all of those tested showed overall improvement.

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