Cancer patients’ pain eased by simple bedside chart, study shows
Patients with cancer could benefit from a simple bedside system to manage their pain, a study suggests.
The new approach reduces pain levels compared with conventional care, the research with patients shows.
Pain affects half of all people with cancer and an estimated 80 per cent of those with advanced cancer, causing both physical and emotional impact on patients.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh worked with doctors to develop the Edinburgh Pain Assessment and management Tool (EPAT) – a pen and paper chart which medical staff use to regularly record pain levels in a simple traffic light system.
Amber or red pain levels – indicating moderate or severe pain – prompts doctors to review medications and side effects and monitor pain more closely.
The trial looked at pain levels in almost 2000 cancer patients over five days, following admission to regional cancer centres.
Patients whose care included use of the chart reported less pain during this time, compared with patients with standard care, who did not show an improvement.
Importantly, use of the chart was not linked to higher medicine doses. Authors suggest that it works by encouraging
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