The objective of this study was to test whether a quality improvement intervention can improve pain management in nursing homes. Experts in quality improvement and clinical pain management provided nursing home staff leaders with feedback on pain quality indicator data, education in pain management, and technical assistance to apply the Plan-Do-Study-Act model of quality improvement. Trained abstractors completed structured chart audits at baseline and five months to capture quality indicator data related to pain assessment and treatment. Residents in pain who underwent pain assessments increased from 8% to 29% (P < 0.001). Residents receiving non-pharmacological pain treatments increased from 31% to 42% (P = 0.010), but pain medication use did not change. Among residents with daily moderate or excruciating pain, complete pain assessment was associated with increased probability of pain medication use. Quality improvement is a promising method to improve pain management in nursing homes.
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