Partner-guided cancer pain management at the end of life: a preliminary study

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2005 Mar;29(3):263-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2004.06.014.


This preliminary study tested the efficacy of a partner-guided cancer pain management protocol for patients who are at the end of life. Seventy-eight advanced cancer patients meeting criteria for hospice eligibility and their partners were randomly assigned to a partner-guided pain management training intervention, or usual care control condition. The partner-guided pain management training protocol was a three-session intervention conducted in patients' homes that integrated educational information about cancer pain with systematic training of patients and partners in cognitive and behavioral pain coping skills. Data analyses revealed that the partner-guided pain management protocol produced significant increases in partners' ratings of their self-efficacy for helping the patient control pain and self-efficacy for controlling other symptoms. Partners receiving this training also showed a trend to report improvements in their levels of caregiver strain. Overall, the results of this preliminary study suggest that a partner-guided pain management protocol may have benefits in the context of cancer pain at the end of life. Given the significance of pain at the end of life, future research in this area appears warranted.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pain Management*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Spouses* / education
  • Spouses* / psychology
  • Terminal Care / methods*