Educational Needs of Health Care Providers Working in Long-Term Care Facilities with Regard to Pain Management
BACKGROUND: The prevalence of chronic pain ranges from 40% to 80% in long-term care facilities (LTCF), with the highest proportion being found among older adults and residents with dementia. Unfortunately, pain in older adults is underdiagnosed, undertreated, inadequately treated or not treated at all. A solution to this problem would be to provide effective and innovative interdisciplinary continuing education to health care providers (HCPs).OBJECTIVE: To identify the educational needs of HCPs working in LTCF with regard to pain management.METHODS: A qualitative research design using the nominal group technique was undertaken. Seventy-two HCPs (21 physicians/pharmacists, 15 occupational/physical therapists, 24 nurses and 21 orderlies) were recruited from three LTCF in Quebec. Each participant was asked to provide and prioritize a list of the most important topics to be addressed within a continuing education program on chronic pain management in LTCF.RESULTS: Forty topics were generated across all groups, and six specific topics were common to at least three out of the four HCP groups. Educational need in pain assessment was ranked the highest by all groups. Other highly rated topics included pharmacological treatment of pain, pain neurophysiology, nonpharmacological treatments and how to distinguish pain expression from other behaviours.CONCLUSION: The present study showed that despite an average of more than 10 years of work experience in LTCF, HCPs have significant educational needs in pain management, especially pain assessment. These results will help in the development of a comprehensive pain management educational program for HCPs in LTCF.