Purpose/objectives: To examine the impact of pain education on family members providing home care to elderly patients with cancer.
Setting: Homes of selected patients from two California medical centers.
Sample: Fifty family caregivers of patients experiencing cancer-related pain.
Methods: The pain education program included three components: pain assessment, pharmacologic interventions, and nonpharmacologic interventions. Patients and their family caregivers were evaluated prior to initiation of the program and at one and three weeks following the interventions.
Main research variables: Quality of life (QOL); knowledge and attitudes about pain; and caregiver burden.
Findings: Findings based on measures of QOL and caregiver burden demonstrated the physical and psychological impact of family caregiving and pain management. Comparison between elderly patients with cancer and family caregivers revealed the pain experience's significant impact on family members caring for a loved one in pain.
Conclusions: The pain education program was effective in improving knowledge and attitudes regarding pain management.
Implications for nursing practice: Pain management is a priority for nurses, and use of interventions such as structured pain education improves QOL outcomes for elderly patients and their family caregivers.