Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work
JUNE 14, 2017
Yesterday I wrote about fatigue, and pain seems a worthy companion piece. Fortunately, many cancer patients never have to contend with pain beyond fairly minor issues like needle sticks or (not so minor in the short-term, I know) recovery from surgery. However, far too many people with cancer do live with pain, and many of the rest of us worry about that eventuality.
This is a piece from Medscape about a newly developed program to help people manage cancer pain. It includes pain management, patient advocacy, and strategies to better live with pain. Let me put in a plug here for consultation with a Palliative Care Team. Palliative Care does not mean hospice care, but is an attempt to help people live with the best possible quality of life in spite of symptoms. Palliative care specialists know a lot about pain management and are surely an excellent resource.
Here is the start and a link to read more:
'Power Over Pain' Intervention Tackles Perception of Cancer Pain
Nancy A. Melville
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania — A new interventional model for self management of cancer pain focusing on reinforcement of the perception of pain control shows efficacy in the treatment of African Americans with cancer pain in a longitudinal, randomized study and may have benefits in other populations. "Interventions to increase perceived control over pain have the potential to improve functional status by decreasing pain and pain-related distress," said first author, April Hazard Vallerand, PhD, from the College of Nursing at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, in presenting the findings here at the American Pain Society (APS) 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting.
Dubbed Power Over Pain – Coaching (POPC), the intervention was designed with the goal of giving patients the perception of having control over pain, hence reducing pain-related distress, which has a strong link to functional status.
The program focuses on three main components: medication management, pain advocacy, and aspects of living with pain. The intervention is delivered by nurses trained in its components in home and phone visits to patients.
Previous research has shown that African Americans experience higher levels of pain and pain-related distress and consequently have lower functional status with cancer-related pain. Dr Vallerand and her colleagues therefore focused on African American patients with cancer for this initial investigation of the POPC intervention.
For the study, they randomly assigned 236 African American patients (63% female), with a mean age of 56.2 years, from an urban comprehensive cancer center to receive the POPC intervention, including home and phone visits (n = 180) or home and phone visits by nurses for data collection only and with no delivery of the intervention (n = 130). Home visits were made at weeks 2, 4, and 6 and phone calls for reinforcement were made at weeks 3 and 5.