Physicians' and nurses' perspectives on increased family reports of pain in dying hospitalized patients

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6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many indicators suggest that care of the dying in Oregon has been improving over the past decade. However, results from a recent study suggest that one aspect of care of the dying, pain management, may be worsening. In late 1997, family reports of moderate and severe pain in dying hospitalized patients increased from 33% to 57%. This occurred during a volatile time in the Oregon political climate associated with events surrounding a second vote on physician-assisted suicide. In order to better understand the observed increase better, a state-wide sample of physicians and nurses was surveyed to obtain their opinions about factors that may have contributed to the increased family reports of moderate and severe pain in dying hospitalized patients. Seventy-nine percent of respondents endorsed two or more factors as partial explanations. These factors include an increase in family expectations about pain management (endorsed by 96%), decreased physician prescribing (endorsed by 66%), and reduced nurse administration of pain medication (endorsed by 59%). Physicians who thought reduced physician prescribing was a partial factor rated fears of the Board of Medical Examiners and the Drug Enforcement Administration as the most likely explanations for decreased prescribing. More research is needed to better understand family expectations for end-of-life care, fears of investigation, and pain medication practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-418
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Palliative Medicine
Volume3
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2000

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Nurses
Physicians
Pain
Pain Management
Fear
Assisted Suicide
Coroners and Medical Examiners
Terminal Care
Research
Pharmaceutical Preparations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

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title = "Physicians' and nurses' perspectives on increased family reports of pain in dying hospitalized patients",
abstract = "Many indicators suggest that care of the dying in Oregon has been improving over the past decade. However, results from a recent study suggest that one aspect of care of the dying, pain management, may be worsening. In late 1997, family reports of moderate and severe pain in dying hospitalized patients increased from 33{\%} to 57{\%}. This occurred during a volatile time in the Oregon political climate associated with events surrounding a second vote on physician-assisted suicide. In order to better understand the observed increase better, a state-wide sample of physicians and nurses was surveyed to obtain their opinions about factors that may have contributed to the increased family reports of moderate and severe pain in dying hospitalized patients. Seventy-nine percent of respondents endorsed two or more factors as partial explanations. These factors include an increase in family expectations about pain management (endorsed by 96{\%}), decreased physician prescribing (endorsed by 66{\%}), and reduced nurse administration of pain medication (endorsed by 59{\%}). Physicians who thought reduced physician prescribing was a partial factor rated fears of the Board of Medical Examiners and the Drug Enforcement Administration as the most likely explanations for decreased prescribing. More research is needed to better understand family expectations for end-of-life care, fears of investigation, and pain medication practices.",
author = "Hickman, {S. E.} and Susan Tolle and Virginia Tilden",
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AU - Tolle, Susan

AU - Tilden, Virginia

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AB - Many indicators suggest that care of the dying in Oregon has been improving over the past decade. However, results from a recent study suggest that one aspect of care of the dying, pain management, may be worsening. In late 1997, family reports of moderate and severe pain in dying hospitalized patients increased from 33% to 57%. This occurred during a volatile time in the Oregon political climate associated with events surrounding a second vote on physician-assisted suicide. In order to better understand the observed increase better, a state-wide sample of physicians and nurses was surveyed to obtain their opinions about factors that may have contributed to the increased family reports of moderate and severe pain in dying hospitalized patients. Seventy-nine percent of respondents endorsed two or more factors as partial explanations. These factors include an increase in family expectations about pain management (endorsed by 96%), decreased physician prescribing (endorsed by 66%), and reduced nurse administration of pain medication (endorsed by 59%). Physicians who thought reduced physician prescribing was a partial factor rated fears of the Board of Medical Examiners and the Drug Enforcement Administration as the most likely explanations for decreased prescribing. More research is needed to better understand family expectations for end-of-life care, fears of investigation, and pain medication practices.

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