Nurse-Led Motivational Interviewing for Setting Functional Cancer Pain Goals



      Persons with advanced cancers experience high rates of pain. Nursing interventions for pain, which are tailored to the individual patient, may support motivation to engage in self-management and should include setting of realistic functional goals. For patients with advanced cancer, functional pain goals include personally important activities, measurable across clinical encounters. However, limited evidence exists regarding nursing assessment of functional pain goals. To address this gap, we piloted use of a motivational interviewing intervention. Motivational interviewing is a clinical technique for clarifying goals and related impediments, such as cognitive and emotional factors underlying pain management behaviors.


      Pilot feasibility testing.


      Palliative care patients with cancer-related pain completed up to four intervention sessions, the Pain Self-Efficacy Questionnaire, and an author-developed acceptability questionnaire. Feasibility success was determined by 60% of participants completing at least two interventions. Fidelity to the intervention was assessed using the Motivational Interviewing Skills for Healthcare Encounters tool.


      Sixty-seven percent completed two interventions. Participants reported that interventions were helpful, worthwhile, and recommended. Mean pain self-efficacy scores (0-60 possible) rose from 31.5 (SD = 11.2) at intervention 1 to 35.5 (SD = 13) after intervention 4. Intervention fidelity was maintained.


      Participants were willing to engage in multiple motivational interviewing conversations focused on pain management behaviors related to functional goals. Based on these findings about motivational interviewing for functional goals and patient willingness to set them, these conversations may have a place in clinical care as an element of pain assessment and intervention tailoring.
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