PURPOSE: Research has shown that adequate treatment for painful disorders reduces suffering, length of hospital stay and healthcare costs. Although there is extensive literature regarding patients' experience and reporting of pain, there is little information on the relationship between the personal and professional characteristics of healthcare providers and their perceptions of pain and pain management. We conducted a pilot study of our Intensive Care Unit(ICU) healthcare staff’s perceptions of pain and pain management.
METHODS: This study was initiated in a 670 bed teaching hospital. We collected demographics and assessed such perceptions utilizing a 16-item self-administered, anonymous questionnaire. Surveys were delivered to 84 providers, including nurses, internal medicine residents, critical care attending and fellow physicians. The ICU types included medical ICU, Cardio-thoracic ICU, and Cardiac Care Unit. Survey questions were grouped into 5 categories: perceptions regarding addiction, impact on hemodynamic stability, legal issues, patients’ expression of pain, and training/education. We hypothesized that considerable differences in perceptions of pain and pain management would be associated with demographics, training and clinical experience.
RESULTS: All 84 providers approached for this study completed and returned the questionnaire. Regression analyses indicated that the demographic variables significantly predicted perceptions of hemodynamic stability (p=.020), patient expression of pain (p=.041), and training/education (p=.032). Furthermore, these demographic variables accounted for a significant proportion of the variance: hemodynamic stability (60%), patient expression of pain (56%), and training/education (56%). Country of birth, race, ethnicity, and religion significantly predicted perceptions of addiction (p=.048) and accounted for 16% of the variance.
CONCLUSIONS: Preliminary results of the study suggest that demographic characteristics particularly, country of birth, race, ethnicity and religion, may predict healthcare providers’ perceptions of pain and pain management. A larger study sample is required and ongoing to confirm these findings.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: This investigation suggests that healthcare workers' demographic characteristics may have a strong impact on how they interpret and treat patients' pain. Results of this and future studies could have strong implications for identifying these variations in and optimizing approaches to pain management.
DISCLOSURE: The following authors have nothing to disclose: Chaitali Gupte, Pooja Raju, Jill Jackson, Sean Studer, Jennifer LaRosa
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