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Cancer patients and their partners who received nurse-led educational sessions on pain management reported less pain and greater confidence in their ability to control pain than patients who didn't attend the sessions. Researchers compared 28 patient/partner pairs who received pain management education with 28 pairs who received standard care. All patients were expected to live less than 6 months. The pain management education consisted of three 1-hour sessions led by nurse-educators in each patient's home. The sessions integrated educational information about cancer pain with systematic training of patients and partners in cognitive and behavioral pain-coping skills.


On a 10-point scale of pain severity, patients who received the pain management education averaged a 4.6 score, compared with a 5.19 score among those who received standard care. Partners who participated in the pain management program reported significantly higher levels of confidence in helping their patient control pain. They also had lower levels of caregiver strain than partners who didn't receive the education.


Researchers say that more educational sessions earlier in a patient's illness could offer even greater benefits.




Partner-guided cancer pain management at the end of life: A preliminary study, Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, FJ Keefe, et al., March 2005.