N. Schibig, J. Westhafer, S. Henry, S. Phillips, H. Tolstedt and C. Papadopoulos

Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA

In the U.S., the number of people over the age of 65 is growing and it is predicted that in the next two decades this population will increase by 33%. Hospitalization rates for older adults due to falls and other health related issues have also increased. Following hospitalization, pain and fatigue are often observed. Admittance to rehabilitation units or long-term care facilities has often been the result post-hospitalization for this population. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between pain, fatigue, and quality of life of older adults admitted in a Medicare rehabilitation unit. METHODS: Seven older adults who have recently (less than one week) been discharged from an area hospital and admitted in a Medicare rehabilitation unit completed a series of questionnaires. All participants completed the Quality of Life Profile Seniors Version survey, a 72-item survey to determine quality of life. Furthermore, each participant completed the Brief Pain Inventory questionnaire to assess severity of pain and the impact of pain on daily functions. Finally, fatigue was determined using the Fatigue Questionnaire, a 100 mm line that ranges from "not fatigued at all" (0 mm) to "worst fatigue ever experienced" (100 mm). Pearson's Correlation Coefficient was used to determine the relationship between the various variables. Significance was set at p < 0.05. RESULTS: Quality of Life scores reflected a positive overall quality of life. Average fatigue score was 43 ± 25 mm, which indicates moderate fatigue. On average the participants reported low pain and that pain did not interfere severely with daily activities. Statistical analysis revealed a significant (p < 0.01) positive relationship between fatigue and pain that interfered with sleep (r = 0.94) and enjoyment of life (r = 0.94). Furthermore, there was a significant (p < 0.05) negative relationship between overall quality of life score and pain that interfered with general activity (r = -0.84) and mood (r = -0.77). Finally, there was a significant negative correlation between pain that interfered with general activity and several individual item scores from the quality of life questionnaire. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that post-hospitalization perceived pain that interferes with general activity has an inverse association with quality of life. In these older adults, the higher the pain the lower the quality of life, but more data are needed to have more generalized conclusions.

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