Background: The majority of cancer treatment is provided in outpatient settings. Family caregivers' (FCs') knowledge and beliefs about pain and its management are critical components of effective care.
Objective: This study's aim was to evaluate the efficacy of a psychoeducational intervention, compared with control, to increase FCs' knowledge of cancer pain management.
Intervention/methods: Family caregivers of oncology outpatients were randomized together with the patients into the PRO-SELF Pain Control Program (n = 58) or a control group (n = 54). Family caregivers completed a demographic questionnaire and the Family Pain Questionnaire (FPQ) at the beginning and end of the study to assess their knowledge about pain and its management. The intervention consisted of nurse coaching, home visits, and phone calls that occurred over 6 weeks.
Results: One hundred twelve FCs (60% female) with a mean age of 63 (SD, 10.7) years participated. Compared with FCs in the control group, FCs in the PRO-SELF group had significantly higher knowledge scores on all of the single items on the FPQ, except for the item "cancer pain can be relieved," as well as for the total FPQ score.
Conclusion: The use of a knowledge and attitude survey like the FPQ, as part of a psychoeducational intervention provides an effective foundation for FC education about cancer pain management.
Implications for practice: Oncology nurses can use FCs' responses to the FPQ to individualize teaching and spend more time on identified knowledge deficits. This individualized approach to FC education may save staff time and improve patient outcomes.