Effectiveness of a community based nurse-pharmacist managed pain clinic: A mixed-methods study.
BACKGROUND: Chronic pain is predominantly managed in primary care, although often ineffectively. There is growing evidence to support the potential role of nurses and pharmacists in the effective management of chronic pain. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effectiveness of a pain clinic jointly managed by a nurse and pharmacist. DESIGN: A mixed-methods design consisting of qualitative interviews embedded within a quasi-experimental study. SETTINGS: A community-based nurse-pharmacist led pain clinic in the north of England. PARTICIPANTS: Adult chronic pain (non-malignant) patients referred to the pain clinic. METHODS: Pain intensity was the primary outcome. Questionnaires (the Brief Pain Inventory, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the SF-36 and the Chronic Pain Grade questionnaire) were administered at the baseline, on discharge and at 3-month post-discharge (Brief Pain Inventory and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale only). Patient satisfaction was explored using face-to-face, semi-structured qualitative interviews. RESULTS: Seventy-nine patients with a mean age of 46.5 years (SD±14.4) took part in the quasi-experimental study. Thirty-six and nine patients completed the discharge and 3-month follow-up questionnaires respectively. Compared to baseline, statistically significant reductions were noted for two of the outcome measures: pain intensity (P=0.02), and interference of pain with physical functioning (P=0.02) on discharge from the service. Nineteen patients participated in qualitative interviews. The patients were, in general, satisfied with the quality of service. Four contributing factors to patient satisfaction were identified: ample consultation time, in-depth specialised knowledge, listening and understanding to patients' needs, and a holistic approach. CONCLUSIONS: Nurse and pharmacist managed community-based pain clinics can effectively deliver quality pain management services as they offer an interdisciplinary holistic approach to pain management. Such services have the potential not only to reduce the burden on secondary care but also decrease long waiting times for referral to secondary care. Further research is required to support the development of evidence based referral guidelines to such services.
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