Recognizing and treatment of pain


Pain is a prevalent problem amongst older adults. Previous studies have identified that treatment of pain is often not sufficient, due to over- or under medication or inappropriate non-medical treatments. Inappropriate treatment in fragile elderly can lead to unnecessary adverse effects, hospitalizations that can be prevented and added costs. Temporary stays in nursing homes are more frequent nowadays and appropriate referral to primary care is essential.


The goal of this project is to improve the process of recognizing and the treatment of pain in older adults in nursing homes and improve the referral to primary care.


The multidisciplinary guideline: ‘Recognizing and treatment of pain in frail elderly’ (Verenso 2016) will be implemented in two nursing homes. The experiences with the recognition of pain and treatment of pain of the clients, legal representatives, therapists, physicians and nursing staff  are assessed in each nursing home. Furthermore, pain medication data will be collected and analysed. The next step is to develop an action plan for the implementation. The IVM develops a toolbox with information for the clients, legal representatives, therapists, physicians and nursing staff. The nursing homes develop a programme for recognizing and treating pain and the referral to primary care will be standardized. The researchers of the LUMC will systematically collect data about and will evaluate the process- and effect of the implementation of the guideline. Verenso leads the project and will organise that the toolbox will be available for each nursing home in the Netherlands in collaboration with the IVM.


Dr. L.E. van den Akker
Dr. M.W.M. de Waal
Prof. dr. W.P. Achterberg


Lizanne van den Akker (


Verenso, Vereniging van Specialisten Ouderen Geneeskunde

Instituut voor Verantwoord Medicijn gebruik (IVM)