Mindfulness-Based Group Therapy for Chronic Pain Management in Older Adults

Author: Mariko Foulk1, Marcos Montagnini2, James Fitzgerald3, Berit Ingersoll-Dayton4
1 Department of Social Work /Geriatrics Center, Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbo, Michigan, USA.
2 Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbo, Michigan, USA.
3 Department of Learning Health Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
4 School of Social Work, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
Conference/Journal: Clin Gerontol
Date published: 2023 Jun 28
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1080/07317115.2023.2229307. , Word Count: 208

There were two quality improvement goals for this project: (1) to evaluate the outcomes of an 8-week geriatric-focused mindfulness-based group therapy program for chronic pain management called "Mindfulness-based Chronic Pain Care" offered at a senior community center affiliated with a geriatric primary care clinic, and (2) to obtain feedback from participants to make relevant modifications for future groups.

The program consisted of eight 150-minute weekly sessions. Thirteen community-dwelling older adults aged 60 and older participated in the program. The study utilized a non-randomized control-group pretest-posttest design. Participants completed pre- and post-program evaluations measuring pain and related psychosocial outcomes and were also asked to evaluate the importance of the group. Intervention and control groups were compared by t-test, chi-square likelihood ratio, Fischer's exact test, and multivariate analysis of variance with repeated measures.

There were statistically significant improvements in three areas: 1) increased activity level, 2) increased "pain willingness," and 3) decreased generalized anxiety symptoms. Qualitative analysis highlighted how this intervention was important to participants.

The results of this pilot program indicate promising outcomes for older adults suffering from chronic pain.

Clinical implications:
The Mindfulness-based Chronic Pain Care program was a practical, feasible, and acceptable approach for pain management among program participants.

Keywords: Chronic Pain; group therapy; mindfulness; older adults.

PMID: 37378667 DOI: 10.1080/07317115.2023.2229307