The Sole Indexicality of Pain: How Attitudes Towards the Elderly Erect Barriers to Pain Management
30 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2007
Date Written: Jan. 15, 2006
No one believes that the elderly are not entitled to adequate pain management. Yet the evidence shows that the elderly generally do not receive adequate pain management. This paper attempts to address this phenomenon through an interdisciplinary approach. The thesis is that because pain is solely indexical, that is, that it cannot be confirmed through objective diagnostic instrumentation, social and historical attitudes towards the elderly are largely responsible for shaping and informing treatment modalities to pain management. This paper examines these forces, as well as the legal and regulatory barriers to providing adequate pain management for the elderly. The paper concludes that a shift in attitudes is the most promising means to ameliorating the severity of the problem.
Keywords: Indexicality, pain, pain management, elderly, attitudes, interdisciplinary, regulatory, barriers
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