Objectives: The objective of the study was to examine patients’ experiences of pain in Hospital in the Home (HITH) programs and identify the issues related to providing optimal pain management for acute care patients in the home environment. Methods: A descriptive survey of patients’ experience of pain and pain management in 3 HITH programs in metropolitan Melbourne, Australia (n=359). Data were collected by telephone interview using a modified version of The American Pain Society’s Patient Outcome Questionnaire. Patients were interviewed 48 to 72 hours after admission to the HITH program. Consecutive, adult, acute care patients were invited to participate in the study. Patients who had previously participated or had communication difficulties unable to be overcome with the assistance of an interpreter were excluded. Results: Sixty-nine percent of patients interviewed experienced pain at home and 86% of these patients had experienced pain in the 24 hours before the interview. Over half (56%) of the patients had experienced moderate-to-severe worst pain in the previous 24 hours and 33% reported moderate-to-severe pain as their average pain experience. Two hundred thirty-two (93.2%) of the 250 patients who experienced pain had pain in hospital before being transferred to HITH. Of these patients, 52.2% (n=132) were prescribed analgesics to take home with them; the remaining 118 patients experiencing pain were not prescribed analgesics and either sourced analgesics once home (n=81, 68.1%) or did not take any analgesics (n=38, 31.9%). Discussion: Treatment of pain at home was suboptimal with patients experiencing moderate-to-severe pain and discomfort during the treatment phase of their illness. Lack of appropriate discharge planning strategies meant that patients went home without adequate analgesia and use of non prescribed pain medication was common. The number of patients transferred home without analgesics indicates a worrying under recognition of the need for analgesia in this care context and poses a risk to patient safety that is no less significant because patients are at home.
Field of Research
111708 Health and Community Services
Socio Economic Objective
970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences