Individualized patient education and coaching to improve pain control among cancer outpatients

J. W. Oliver, Richard L Kravitz, S. H. Kaplan, Frederick J Meyers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: An estimated 42% of cancer patients suffer from poorly controlled pain, in part because of patient-related barriers to pain control. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of an individualized education and coaching intervention on pain outcomes and pain-related knowledge among outpatients with cancer-related pain. Patients and Methods: English-speaking cancer patients (18 to 75 years old) with moderate pain over the past 2 weeks were randomly assigned to the experimental (n = 34) or control group (n = 33). Experimental patients received a 20-minute individualized education and coaching session to increase knowledge of pain self-management, to redress personal misconceptions about pain treatment, and to rehearse an individually scripted patient-physician dialog about pain control. The control group received standardized instruction on controlling pain. Data on average pain, functional impairment as a result of pain, pain frequency, and pain-related knowledge were collected at enrollment and 2-week follow-up. Results: At baseline, there were no significant differences between experimental and control groups in terms of average pain, functional impairment as a result of pain, pain frequency, or pain-related knowledge. At follow-up, average pain severity improved significantly more among experimental group patients than among control patients (P = .014). The intervention had no statistically significant impact on functional impairment as a result of pain, pain frequency, or pain-related knowledge. Conclusion: Compared with provision of standard educational materials and counseling, a brief individualized education and coaching intervention for outpatients with cancer-related pain was associated with improvement in average pain levels. Larger studies are needed to validate these effects and elucidate their mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2206-2212
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Volume19
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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