"We all talk about it as though we're thinking about the same thing." Healthcare professionals' goals in the management of pain due to advanced cancer: a qualitative study

Rebecca Bhatia, Bhatia Rebecca, Jane Gibbins, Gibbins Jane, Karen Forbes, Forbes Karen, Colette Reid, Reid Colette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
323 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

PURPOSE: Unfortunately, several barriers impede successful management of cancer pain including those relating to the assessment and measurement of pain. There is currently no consensus as to what constitutes good pain control or what healthcare professionals are aiming to achieve in the management of pain for patients with advanced cancer. This study aimed to explore healthcare professionals' views and experiences to elicit what they are aiming to achieve in managing pain for patients with advanced cancer.

METHODS: Healthcare professionals involved in the management of cancer pain were sampled purposively and interviewed using a semi-structured interview technique until saturation of data. Data were analysed using the constant comparison approach.

RESULTS: Sixteen interviews took place and four main themes emerged: aims of pain management, assessing response to pain management, managing expectations, and building relationships. Healthcare professionals found assessing patients' pain challenging and reported that patients had difficulty using numerical rating scales. Healthcare professionals used different terms when talking about managing pain, such as 'pain control' but found it difficult to define these terms. Maintaining patients' function and managing their expectations were described as important. However, it was not always clear whether the patient goals mentioned were voiced explicitly by the patient or assumed by the healthcare professional.

CONCLUSION: Healthcare professionals described what they deemed important in the management of pain. The goals they mentioned almost exclusively related to function as opposed to pain scores, but patients' goals and expectations were often not elicited specifically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2067-73
Number of pages7
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Volume22
Issue number8
Early online date15 Mar 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2014

Keywords

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Goals
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms
  • Pain
  • Pain Management
  • Qualitative Research

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