Nurses can help lead efforts to ease psychological distress and reduce suffering for people with chronic pain, according to a new study of U.S. veterans.
Nurse care managers in the study provided support, motivation, and encouragement that “many of the participants really clung to,” lead author Marianne Matthias tells Pain Medicine News. Nurses were also very important in providing cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to the veterans.
Matthias’s paper is one of several being published from the Evaluation of Stepped Care for Chronic Pain (ESCAPE) study, which involved 242 U.S. veterans of the recent Afghanistan and Iraq wars. The study was funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2010, a U.S. Army Pain Management Task Force made recommendations on the best approach to helping veterans with chronic pain, which included making support available and creating a spectrum of best evidence-based practices for the continuum of care. The ESCAPE studies were conducted in response to those recommendations.
For Matthias’s study, patients were put into randomized groups to either receive “usual care” or “a nurse-led intervention” that included pain medication management and 12 phone conversations. During the conversations nurses provided information on medication management, pain self-management instruction, and CBT. The most recent findings from the study, which explored the pain’s emotional toll on 26 patients and their perceptions of need for support, found that nurses in particular had a positive impact on the patients.
An INQRI funded study: SPEACS 2: Improving Patient Communication and Quality Outcomes in the ICU, examined the value of a nurse-generated and nurse-led innovation on ICU patient care outcomes, including pain symptom management. The study was led by Mary Beth Happ and Amber Barnato.