Partnering to cope with pain: A pilot study of a caregiver-assisted pain coping skills intervention for patients with cognitive impairment and dementia

Palliat Support Care. 2022 Dec;20(6):785-793. doi: 10.1017/S1478951521001747.


Objective: To develop a new caregiver-assisted pain coping skills training protocol specifically tailored for community-dwelling persons with cognitive impairment and pain, and assess its feasibility and acceptability.

Method: In Phase I, we conducted interviews with 10 patient-caregiver dyads to gather feedback about intervention content and delivery. Phase II was a single-arm pilot test to evaluate the intervention's feasibility and acceptability. Dyads in the pilot study (n = 11) completed baseline surveys, received five intervention sessions, and then completed post-intervention surveys. Analyses focused on feasibility and acceptability.

Results: Dyads responded positively to the pain coping skills presented in the interviews; their feedback was used to refine the intervention. Findings from the pilot study suggested that the intervention was feasible and acceptable. 69% of eligible dyads consented, 82% completed all five intervention sessions, and 100% completed the post-treatment assessment. Caregivers reported high satisfaction ratings. They also reported using the pain coping skills on a regular basis, and that they found most of the skills helpful and easy to use.

Significance of results: These preliminary findings suggest that a caregiver-assisted pain coping skills intervention is feasible and acceptable, and that it may be a promising approach to managing pain in patients with cognitive impairment.

Keywords: Caregiver; Cognitive behavioral therapy; Dementia; Pain management.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Caregivers / psychology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / etiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / therapy
  • Dementia* / complications
  • Dementia* / therapy
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Pain
  • Pilot Projects