The prevalence, impact and management of musculoskeletal disorders in older people living in care homes: a systematic review

Toby Smith, Rachel Purdy, Sarah Latham, Sarah Kingsbury, Graham Mulley, Philip Conaghan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
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Purpose: To systematically review the literature describing the prevalence, impact and current management of musculoskeletal pain in older people living in care homes.

Materials and Methods: Published (AMED, CINAHL, EMBASE, psycINFO, MEDLINE, Cochrane Library) and unpublished (OpenGrey, the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, Current Controlled Trials, UK National Research Register Archive) literature was searched on the 1st March 2015. All studies assessing the prevalence, impact and management of musculoskeletal disorders in older people living in care homes was included. Literature was appraised using the CASP cohort and qualitative critical appraisal tools. Data were analysed using descriptive statistical approaches, meta-analysis and meta-ethnography techniques.

Principle Results: Twenty-four papers reporting the results of 263,775 care home residents in 12 countries were identified. The evidence-base was moderate in quality. Prevalence of musculoskeletal pain for people in care homes was 30.2% (95% confidence intervals: 29.9% to 30.5%; n=105,463). Care home residents reported that musculoskeletal pain had a significant impact on their perceived independence and overall ability to participate in everyday activities of daily living. Three papers which presented data on interventions demonstrated that whilst multi-component assessment and management packages did not significantly change clinical outcomes, these empowered care home staff to feel more confident in managing these patients.

Major Conclusions: Musculoskeletal pain is a common problem in care homes worldwide and residents report significant impact on their lives. However there is uncertainty regarding how to assess and manage such pain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-64
Number of pages10
JournalRheumatology International
Issue number1
Early online date6 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


  • Pain
  • Elderly
  • Residential Home
  • Nursing Home
  • Treatment
  • Prevalence

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