Undertreatment of pain in older adults: An application of beneficence

Nursing Ethics 19 (6):800-809 (2012)
Inadequate pain control, especially in older adults, remains a significant issue when caring for this population. Older adults, many of whom experience multiple acute and chronic conditions, are especially vulnerable to having their pain seriously underassessed and inadequately treated. Nurses have an ethical obligation to appropriately treat patients’ pain. To fulfill their ethical obligation to relieve pain in older patients, nurses often need to advocate on their behalf. This article provides an overview of the persistent problem of undertreated pain in older adults and explores how nurses can meet this ethical duty through the application of Beauchamp and Childress’ three principles of beneficence
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