Managing Pain and Psychosis Symptoms in Nursing Home Patients: Results from a Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial (COSMOS)
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of the American Medical Directors Association. 2021, 22 (8), 1692-1698. 10.1016/j.jamda.2021.05.008
Objectives In nursing homes (NHs), 30% to 60% of patients experience daily pain and >80% have dementia. This can lead to neuropsychiatric symptoms, including psychosis symptoms such as delusion. We investigated if there was a relationship between pain and psychosis symptoms over time. We also aimed to investigate the effect of a multicomponent intervention (COSMOS) on pain, psychosis symptoms, and analgesic prescription. Design COSMOS is a cluster-randomized, single blinded, controlled trial. Each NH unit was defined as a cluster and randomized to either the COSMOS intervention or care as usual. The COSMOS intervention is a multicomponent intervention, consisting of staff training in communication, pain treatment, medication review, organization of activities, and safety. The intervention lasted for 4 months with a follow-up at month 9. Setting and Participants Sixty-seven units from 33 Norwegian NHs in 8 municipalities. The study included 723 patients aged ≥65 years, residing at the NH ≥2 weeks before inclusion. Patients with a life expectancy <6 months were excluded. Measures Pain was measured using the Mobilization-Observation-Behavior-Intensity-Dementia Pain Scale. Psychosis symptoms were measured using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory–NH version. Measurements were performed at baseline, and months 4 and 9. Results Multilevel Mixed-Effect statistical analysis found that psychosis symptoms as a group (odds ratio [OR] 2.03, P = .009), and delusion (OR 2.12, P = .007) were associated with pain over time. No significant intervention effect on psychosis symptoms was observed. Compared with the control group, people with dementia in the intervention group experienced less musculoskeletal pain (β: −0.47, P = .047). Analgesic prescription was not affected by the intervention. Conclusion and Implications Pain is associated with psychosis symptoms, and pain assessment should be done when making treatment decisions on psychosis symptoms in NH patients. The COSMOS intervention improved musculoskeletal pain in people with dementia, but not psychosis symptoms, and there is need for further studies on treatment of psychosis symptoms in NH patients.