Enhancing Clinician Interpretation of Patients Quality of Life: Experiences in a Comprehensive Cancer Center Pain Clinic
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Background and Significance: There are an estimated 16.9 million cancer survivors living within the United States. It’s imperative that providers continue to monitor patients physical and psychological functioning throughout their disease process, as this can greatly impact quality of life (QOL). Purpose and Objectives: To evaluate QOL measures in patients with chronic cancer pain, identify common themes regarding patients’ perception of QOL, and evaluate how providers perceived and discussed QOL with their patients. Theoretical Framework: The conceptual model of health-related quality of life was utilized as the theoretical framework for this DNP project. Methods and Design: A mixed-methods approach for data collection was utilized via retrospective chart review of current patients Chronic Pain Acceptance Questionnaire (CPAQ) forms, individual patient interviews, and an email questionnaire was sent to providers within the pain clinic. Results: A significant effect was noted between life support activity, age, and type of pain. Additionally, significance was noted between type of pain, mood, and relationships with others. Patients described feelings of change with a diagnosis of cancer as well learning to live with pain. Pain providers believed their team effectively discussed QOL and functioning with each patient. Conclusion: Patients and providers reported that pain affected QOL, pain regimens were effective in improving QOL, and overall patients expressed satisfaction with their care. Future Implications: As cancer survivorship continues to lengthen, management of chronic pain within this population may transition to primary care, making it essential for providers to understand the impact chronic cancer pain may have one’s QOL.