Effect of hospice nonprofessional caregiver barriers to pain management on adherence to analgesic administration recommendations and patient outcomes

Pain Manag Nurs. 2015 Jun;16(3):249-56. doi: 10.1016/j.pmn.2014.07.001. Epub 2014 Nov 27.


Nonprofessional caregivers frequently experience barriers to using analgesics for pain in patients in home hospice settings, and patients in pain may suffer needlessly. For example, caregiver adherence to the administration of analgesics is lower for as-needed (PRN) regimens than for standard around-the-clock regimens. But little is known about the barriers caregivers experience and the effects of those barriers. Accordingly, we determined caregiver barriers to using analgesics to manage the pain of patients in the home hospice care setting, and how such barriers affected caregiver adherence and patient quality of life. To this end, we measured barriers, caregiver adherence to PRN analgesic regimens, and patient health outcomes (pain, depression, quality of life [QoL]). A 3-day longitudinal design was used. We recruited 46 hospice nonprofessional caregiver-patient dyads from a local community hospice agency. Barriers were measured with the Barrier Questionnaire II. Adherence to the PRN analgesic regimen was obtained with a 3-day pain and medication diary. Patient outcome measures included pain intensity, the Hospital Depression Scale, and the Brief Hospice Inventory for QoL. Barrier scores were moderate to low. Caregivers adhered to PRN analgesic regimens approximately 51% of the time. Higher caregiver adherence to PRN analgesic regimens was associated with lower patient pain intensity and higher patient QoL, but not, surprisingly, with barriers to pain management. Longitudinal studies are now needed to identify factors besides caregiver barriers that may unduly lower caregiver adherence to PRN analgesic regimens.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Breakthrough Pain / nursing
  • Breakthrough Pain / prevention & control*
  • Cancer Pain / nursing
  • Cancer Pain / prevention & control
  • Caregivers*
  • Chicago
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Home Nursing
  • Hospice Care / methods*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / nursing
  • Pain Management / nursing
  • Pain Management / standards
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Analgesics