An educational intervention to reduce pain and improve pain management for Malawian people living with HIV/AIDS and their family carers: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

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Nkhoma, Kennedy ; Seymour, Jane ; Arthur, Antony (2013)
  • Publisher: BioMed Central
  • Journal: Trials (vol: 14, pp: 216-216)
  • Related identifiers: pmc: PMC3717041, doi: 10.1186/1745-6215-14-216
  • Subject: Educational intervention | Medicine (miscellaneous) | Pain | HIV/AIDS | Study Protocol | Palliative care | Pharmacology (medical) | Trial | Carers

Background Many HIV/AIDS patients experience pain often due to advanced HIV/AIDS infection and side effects of treatment. In sub-Saharan Africa, pain management for people with HIV/AIDS is suboptimal. With survival extended as a direct consequence of improved access to antiretroviral therapy, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS related pain is increasing. As most care is provided at home, the management of pain requires patient and family involvement. Pain education is an important aspect in the management of pain in HIV/AIDS patients. Studies of the effectiveness of pain education interventions for people with HIV/AIDS have been conducted almost exclusively in western countries. Methods/design A randomised controlled trial is being conducted at the HIV and palliative care clinics of two public hospitals in Malawi. To be eligible, patient participants must have a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS (stage III or IV). Carer participants must be the individual most involved in the patient’s unpaid care. Eligible participants are randomised to either: (1) a 30-minute face-to-face educational intervention covering pain assessment and management, augmented by a leaflet and follow-up telephone call at two weeks; or (2) usual care. Those allocated to the usual care group receive the educational intervention after follow-up assessments have been conducted (wait-list control group). The primary outcome is pain severity measured by the Brief Pain Inventory. Secondary outcomes are pain interference, patient knowledge of pain management, patient quality of life, carer knowledge of pain management, caregiver motivation and carer quality of life. Follow-up assessments are conducted eight weeks after randomisation by palliative care nurses blind to allocation. Discussion This randomised controlled trial conducted in sub-Saharan Africa among people living with HIV/AIDS and their carers will assess whether a pain education intervention is effective in reducing pain and improving pain management, quality of life and carer motivation. Trial registration Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN72861423.
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