Patient Satisfaction with Pain Level in Patients with Cancer

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Abstract

Interest in satisfaction with pain management as a pain-related outcome variable wavered when investigators found poor correlations with pain intensity when they measured satisfaction with pain management rather than satisfaction with pain level. The aim was to explore the relationship between satisfaction with pain level and pain intensity among patients receiving ongoing outpatient cancer care. In a comparative, secondary data analysis of a cross-sectional sample of 806 cancer patients (57% male, mean age 56 ± 13 years, 77% Caucasian), the authors measured satisfaction with pain level as a single item (yes, no, not sure) and pain intensity as an average of current, least, and worst pain intensity (all 0–10 scales) in the past 24 hours. Of the 806 participants, 447 (56%) subjects were satisfied with their pain level, 291 (36%) were not satisfied and 68 (8%) were not sure. Satisfaction was moderately correlated with API (rho = −0.43,p< .001). Patients satisfied with their pain levels reported statistically lower mean API scores (2.26 ± 1.70) than those who were not satisfied (4.68 ± 2.07) or not sure (4.21 ± 2.2.1),p< .001. With pair wise post hoc comparisons, mean API scores of satisfied patients were significantly lower than those who were not satisfied or not sure. In contrast with other researchers who have not found associations between satisfaction with pain management and pain intensity, the authors demonstrated that when satisfaction is measured specifically, patients with higher pain intensity are not satisfied. The authors recommend that researchers use “satisfaction with pain level” instead of “satisfaction with pain management” as the pain satisfaction outcome.

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