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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including those from the School of Psychological Sciences & Health - but also papers by researchers based within the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Humanities & Social Sciences, and from the Strathclyde Business School.

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Design and validation of a medication assessment tool for cancer pain management

Håkonsen, Gro Dahlseng and Hudson, Steve and Loennechen, Thrina (2006) Design and validation of a medication assessment tool for cancer pain management. Pharmacy World and Science, 28 (6). pp. 342-351. ISSN 0928-1231

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Abstract

A clinical tool to examine prescribing in cancer pain management may provide a means to help establish acceptable standards of adherence to treatment guidelines. The study aim was to design and validate a Medication Assessment Tool for Cancer Pain Management (MAT-CP). The MAT-CP was designed from guideline criteria based on a previously developed method. The tool was validated by peer review before and during field-testing on a study sample of cancer patients experiencing pain. The final tool comprised 36 criteria covering six different aspects of cancer pain management: (1) pain assessment and information transfer, (2) start of strong opioid therapy; (3) current continuous analgesia; (4) current intermittent analgesia; (5) follow-up of therapy, and; (6) other care issues. The tool was tested on 109 cancer patients experiencing pain (57 males), mean (SD) age 60.8 (11.5) years. Guideline adherence overall was 61% (n = 1704 applicable criteria). The field-testing informed the modification of the MAT-CP to optimise its clarity and utility when applied to patients' clinical documentation. Good inter- and intra-rater reliability (Cohen's kappa κ = 0.86 and κ = 0.95, respectively) were demonstrated in the application. The preliminary application of the tool during field-testing has highlighted the following for further study: (a) Low adherence (<50%) to 14 standards concerning start of opioid treatment and pain therapy follow-up, clinical assessment of risk of gastro-intestinal adverse effects among patients on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), current treatment of breakthrough pain, management of nausea/vomiting; (b) High adherence (>75%) to standards of prescribing of continuous analgesia. A clinical tool to examine prescribing in cancer pain management has been designed. Face and content validity have been informed by field-testing. The tool requires further study among palliative care specialists as part of the validation required before it can be recommended for clinical use.