Background: Many older adults are homebound due to chronic illness and suffer from significant symptoms, including pain. Home-based primary and palliative care (HBPC), which provides interdisciplinary medical and psychosocial care for this population, has been shown to significantly reduce symptom burden. However, little is known about how pain is managed in the homebound. Objective: This article describes pain management for chronically, ill homebound adults in a model, urban HBPC program. Design/Measurements: This was a prospective observational cohort study of newly enrolled HBPC patients, who completed a baseline Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS) survey during the initial HBPC visit (N = 86). Baseline pain burden was captured by ESAS and pain severity was categorized as none, mild, or moderate-severe. All pain-related assessments and treatments over a 6-month period were categorized by medication type and titration, referrals to outside providers, procedures, and equipment. Results: At baseline, 55% of the study population had no pain, 18% had mild pain, and 27% had moderate-severe pain. For those with moderate-severe pain at baseline (n = 23), prescriptions for pharmacological treatments for pain, such as opiates and acetaminophen, increased during the study period from 48% to 57% and 52% to 91%, respectively. Nonpharmacological interventions, including referrals to outside providers such as physical therapy, procedures, and equipment for pain management, were also common and 67% of the study population received a service referral during the follow-up period. Conclusions: Pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatments are widely used in the setting of HBPC to treat the pain of homebound, older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-338
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • home-based primary and palliative care
  • homebound
  • pain management


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