Screening and Audit as Service-Level Strategies to Support Implementation of Australian Guidelines for Cancer Pain Management in Adults: A Feasibility Study

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Pain Management Nursing, 2019, 20 (2), pp. 113 - 117
Issue Date:
2019-04-01
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© 2019 Background: Pain in people with cancer is common but often under-recognized and under-treated. Guidelines can improve the quality of pain care, but need targeted strategies to support implementation. Aim: To test the feasibility of two service-level strategies for supporting guideline implementation: a screening system and medical record audit. Design: Multimethods. Setting: One oncology outpatient service, and one palliative care outpatient and inpatient service. Participants: Patients with advanced cancer. Methods: Patients were screened in the waiting room with a modified version of the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System-revised either electronically or in paper-based format. Feasibility indicated the percentage of patients successfully screened from the total number attending the services. An audit assessed adherence to key indicators of pain assessment and management. Feasibility thresholds were set at 75% incidence for screening and a median of 30 minutes per patient for audit. Results: Of 452 patient visits, 95% (n = 429)were successfully screened, 34% (n = 155)electronically and 61% (n = 274)paper-based. Electronic pain screening was technically challenging and time-intensive for nurses. Thirty-one patients consented to have their records audited. The median audit time was 37.5 minutes (range 10-120 minutes). Variability arose from the number and type of record (outpatient or inpatient). Adherence to indicators varied from 63% (pain assessment at first presentation)to 94% (regular pain assessment and medication prescribed at regular intervals). Conclusions: This study confirmed the need to implement evidence-based guidelines for cancer pain and generated useful insights into the feasibility of pain screening and audit.
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