Transitions of care and changes in distressing pain

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2006 Aug;32(2):104-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2006.03.007.


This study employed a 22-state mortality follow-back survey to examine bereaved family members' perception of the level and pattern of distressing pain in decedents with cancer at the last two sites of care. Of the 1,578 individuals interviewed, 423 of their family members had cancer listed as the leading cause of death on the decedent's death certificate. Decedents were treated at home, hospitals, hospices, or nursing homes, with more than half of the respondents (n = 216) reporting that the decedent was at more than one site of care in the last month. Forty-two percent of decedents had distressing pain (defined as "quite a bit" or "very much") at their second to last place of care, with 40% having distressing pain at the last place. There was some variation in the degree of change depending on the transition between the second to last and last places of care. For many individuals, however, the transition to another place of care did not result in an improvement in the level of distressing pain. No significant differences were found in the change in distressing pain by transition of care. Increased attention is needed not only on how to adequately manage pain and pain-related distress but also on how to improve pain reduction measures in transitions between health care settings at the end of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Family / psychology
  • Female
  • Home Care Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospice Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Nursing Homes / statistics & numerical data
  • Pain / mortality*
  • Palliative Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Stress, Psychological / mortality*
  • Terminal Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology