The increasing number of older people requiring interventions for improved health and social care has been identified as a crucial challenge for the twenty-first century. The reported high prevalence of pain in older people in long-term care facilities has been described as a public health issue not only in the USA but also globally. Rather than merely extending life, the reduction of morbidity, ways of coping with disability, preventing incapacity, extending the quality of life and enhancing the functional independence of older people are identified as important components of service provision. In Britain, the number of people aged over 65 years has doubled in the last 70 years and the number of people over 90 years is expected to double in the next 25 years, which will increase the need for health care in the future. Estimates for the UK indicate that approximately 445 800 older people are currently resident in care homes. The UK government has recently pledged to provide high-quality care and treatment for this population, to treat older people with respect and dignity and to allocate fair resources for conditions that affect them, while simultaneously easing the financial burden of long-term care.