assessment, cancer pain management, hospice nursing, pain goals, tailored care plans



  1. Ehrlich, Olga PhD, RN, CHPN
  2. Vallerand, April Hazard PhD, RN


Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines and hospice agency policies and procedures direct nursing assessment and interventions for the care of persons with cancer-related pain. Guidelines assert that pain should be assessed from a holistic perspective that considers physical, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects. In addition, guidelines maintain that hospice nurses should ascertain patient goals for pain management. Assessment and documentation of goals other than pain intensity goals is an area of nursing practice that has not been developed. Without inclusion of personally meaningful goals in pain assessment instruments, such goals cannot be routinely or consistently included in the hospice care plan. To address the assessment of pain and patient goals for pain management, this scenario-based article merges theoretical knowledge about pain from concept analyses with clinical guideline recommendations. Although research is needed to develop pain goal assessment tools, nurses can use this empirically based approach for asking about goals and integrating them into the plan of care.