Identifying Residents Who May Benefit from an Analgesic Review: Applying Analgesic Indicators in Residential Aged Care Services

Laura A. Dowd, Amanda J. Cross, Shin J. Liau, Agathe D. Jadczak, Renuka Visvanathan, Felicity C. Veal, J. Simon Bell

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Ensuring safe and effective analgesic use in residential aged care services is important because older adults are susceptible to analgesic-related adverse drug events (ADEs). 

Objective: The aim of this study was to identify the proportion and characteristics of residents of aged care services who may benefit from analgesic review based on indicators in the 2021 Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (AMDA) Pain Management Guideline. 

Methods: Cross-sectional analyses of baseline data from the Frailty in Residential Sector over Time (FIRST) study (N = 550 residents) across 12 South Australian residential aged care services in 2019 were conducted. Indicators included the proportion of residents who received > 3000 mg/day of acetaminophen (paracetamol), regular opioids without a documented clinical rationale, opioid doses > 60 mg morphine equivalents (MME)/day, more than one long-acting opioid concurrently, and a pro re nata (PRN) opioid on more than two occasions in the previous 7 days. Logistic regression was performed to investigate factors associated with residents who may benefit from analgesic review. 

Results: Of 381 (69.3%) residents charted regular acetaminophen, 176 (46.2%) were charted > 3000 mg/day. Of 165 (30%) residents charted regular opioids, only 2 (1.2%) had no prespecified potentially painful conditions in their medical record and 31 (18.8%) received > 60 MME/day. Of 153 (27.8%) residents charted long-acting opioids, 8 (5.2%) received more than one long-acting opioid concurrently. Of 212 (38.5%) residents charted PRN opioids, 10 (4.7%) received more than two administrations in the previous 7 days. Overall, 196 (35.6%) of 550 residents were identified as potentially benefiting from analgesic review. Females (odds ratio [OR] 1.87, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.20–2.91) and residents with prior fracture (OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.12–2.33) were more likely to be identified. Observed pain (OR 0.50, 95% CI 0.29–0.88) was associated with a lower likelihood of being identified compared with residents with no observed pain. Overall, 43 (7.8%) residents were identified based on opioid-related indicators. 

Conclusions: Up to one in three residents may benefit from a review of their analgesic regimen, including 1 in 13 who may benefit from a specific review of their opioid regimen. Analgesic indicators represent a new approach to target analgesic stewardship interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449–459
Number of pages11
JournalDrugs & Aging
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2023

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