Pain Management Varies Among Palliative Care Centers

Variations in outcomes for terminal cancer patients affected by organizational factors

MONDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- The management of pain outcomes for terminally ill cancer patients varies widely between inpatient palliative care centers and is affected by organizational factors such as human resources adequacy, according to a study published in the Nov. 15 issue of Cancer.

In an effort to determine whether pain management outcomes vary between palliative care centers, Dong Wook Shin, M.D., Dr.P.H., M.B.A., of the Seoul National University Hospital in South Korea, and colleagues conducted a study involving 1,711 patients with terminal cancer receiving care at 34 inpatient palliative care centers.

One week after admission the researchers found that 82.8 percent of patients had achieved adequate pain control, with a mean reduction of 0.69 to 1.91 points on pain scale scores. Pain management outcomes varied widely between palliative care centers. Human resource adequacy, in particular, correlated significantly with a greater reduction in pain score and an achievement of adequate pain control.

"From the public health and research perspectives, we believe that more research is needed to identify organizational factors that affect pain management outcomes," the authors write. "Measures should be taken to reduce organizational factors that are associated with inadequate pain management."

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