Barriers to caregiver administration of pain medication in hospice care

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2004 Feb;27(2):114-24. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2003.06.008.


Barriers to adequate pain management in hospice and palliative care settings are an important area of investigation. In this study, a Caregiver Pain Medicine Questionnaire (CPMQ) was developed and psychometrically tested. The CPMQ is a 22-item self-report instrument that measures concern about reporting pain, concern about administering analgesics, and difficulty administering analgesics. One hundred fifty-one caregivers of patients admitted to three Chicagoland hospice agencies participated; these individuals were family members, hired caregivers in the home, or staff nurses in skilled care facilities. While only a small percentage of the caregivers expressed concern about communicating information about the patient's pain, more than a quarter were concerned about addiction, tolerance, and side effects from medications. A fourth of the caregivers had difficulty administering medications because of fear of doing something wrong and difficulty deciding which or what amount of medications to give. Male caregivers and hired caregivers had greater concerns, both about reporting information about the patient's pain and administering medications. Greater concerns were also evident among less educated caregivers, caregivers who worked in blue-collar jobs, and caregivers who were homemakers or retired. Concerns of caregivers in the home were significantly greater than staff nurse caregivers in skilled care facilities only in the belief that pain could not be controlled and concern about addiction. Caregivers who had greater concern about addiction and tolerance, and more difficulty administering medications, rated the patient's pain as less completely controlled. These findings remind hospice staff members of the importance of assessing specific caregiver concerns about medication administration and devising appropriate strategies to address them.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Caregivers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hospice Care / psychology*
  • Hospice Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / epidemiology*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Palliative Care / psychology
  • Palliative Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Compliance / psychology
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data
  • Terminal Care / psychology
  • Terminal Care / statistics & numerical data


  • Analgesics