Cancer-related pain in palliative care: patients' perceptions of pain management

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Background. Pain is still a significant problem for many patients with cancer, despite numerous, clear and concise guidelines for the treatment of cancer-related pain. The impact of pain cognition on patients' experiences of cancer-related pain remains relatively unexplored. Aim. The aim of this study was to describe how patients with cancer-related pain in palliative care perceive the management of their pain. Methods. Thirty patients were strategically selected for interviews with open-ended questions, designed to explore the pain and pain management related to their cancer. The interviews were analysed using a phenomenographic approach. Findings. Patients described 10 different perceptions of pain and pain management summarized in the three categories: communication, planning and trust. In terms of communication, patients expressed a need for an open and honest dialogue with health care professionals about all problems concerning pain. Patients expressed an urgent need for planning of their pain treatment including all caring activities around them. When they felt trust in the health care organization as a whole, and in nurses and physicians in particular, they described improved ability and willingness to participate in pain management. While the findings are limited to patients in palliative care, questions are raised about others with cancer-related pain without access to a palliative care team. Conclusion. The opportunity for patients to discuss pain and its treatment seems to have occurred late in the course of disease, mostly not until coming in contact with a palliative care team. They expressed a wish to be pain-free, or attain as much pain relief as possible, with as few side effects as possible.


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Sidor (från-till)410-419
TidskriftJournal of Advanced Nursing
StatusPublished - 2004
Peer review utfördJa