Study on Pain Management and Development of Pain Assessment Charts
Part of our endeavor was to explore the knowledge of our doctors in cancer pain as pain management forms a large part of cancer management especially in advanced disease.
This led to a statewide questionnaire survey and resulted in the publication of the paper as “What do doctors know about cancer pain management (CPM)? An exploratory study in Sarawak, Malaysia” Journal of Pain & Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy, 2006.Volume (20) Number 2, pages 15-22.
In this paper, it highlighted that knowledge about cancer pain management was low and barriers to morphine prescription were high with only 16.2% of our doctors who would choose oral mode of administration of pain medication. A majority of doctors were deterred from using morphine because of fear of addiction (36.5%) and respiratory depression (53.1%).
As pain forms a crucial part of our in-patient care, we customized a pain assessment chart by using the short form of the Brief pain Inventory and Wong-Baker Faces scale.
In 2000, we began to use it for all patients admitted for pain. This study was later published as “Documenting pain as the fifth vital sign: a feasibility study in an oncology ward in Sarawak, Malaysia.” Oncology 2008; 74 (Suppl.1): 35-39 (DOI: 10.1159/00014216.
The results revealed that the method was easy to use for both nurses and patients. The mean number of days to reduce pain was found to be 3.1 days for that sample in the study.