Reducing Patient Barriers to Pain and Fatigue Management

Pain and fatigue are recognized as critical symptoms that impact the quality of life of cancer patients. The barriers to pain and fatigue relief have been classified into three categories: patient, professional, and system barriers. The overall objective of this trial as to test the effects of the “Passport to Comfort” intervention on reducing barriers to pain and fatigue management for ambulatory care cancer patients. This quasi-experimental, comparative study uses a Phase 1 control group of usual care followed sequentially by a Phase 2 intervention group in which educational and system-change efforts were directed toward improved pain and fatigue management. A sample of 187 cancer patients with breast, lung, colon, or prostate cancers, and a pain and/or fatigue rating of 4 or more (moderate to severe), were recruited. Patients in the intervention group received four educational sessions on pain/fatigue assessment and management, whereas patients in the control group received usual care. Pain and fatigue barriers and patient knowledge were measured at baseline, one month, and three months post-accrual. Patients in the intervention group experienced significant improvements in pain and fatigue measures immediately postintervention, and these improvements were sustained over time.

The “Passport to Comfort” intervention was effective in reducing patient barriers to pain and fatigue management as well as in increasing patient knowledge regarding pain and fatigue. This intervention demonstrates innovation by translating the evidence-based guidelines for pain and fatigue as developed by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network into practice.

Tami Borneman, Marianna Koczywas, Virginia Chih-Yi Sun, Barbara F. Piper, Gwen Uman and Betty Ferrell. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, Volume 39, Issue 3, March 2010, Pages 486-501

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