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1.  Prevalence of and risk factors for persistent postoperative nonanginal pain after cardiac surgery: a 2-year prospective multicentre study 
Persistent postoperative pain continues to be an underrecognized complication. We examined the prevalence of and risk factors for this type of pain after cardiac surgery.
We enrolled patients scheduled for coronary artery bypass grafting or valve replacement, or both, from Feb. 8, 2005, to Sept. 1, 2009. Validated measures were used to assess (a) preoperative anxiety and depression, tendency to catastrophize in the face of pain, health-related quality of life and presence of persistent pain; (b) pain intensity and interference in the first postoperative week; and (c) presence and intensity of persistent postoperative pain at 3, 6, 12 and 24 months after surgery. The primary outcome was the presence of persistent postoperative pain during 24 months of follow-up.
A total of 1247 patients completed the preoperative assessment. Follow-up retention rates at 3 and 24 months were 84% and 78%, respectively. The prevalence of persistent postoperative pain decreased significantly over time, from 40.1% at 3 months to 22.1% at 6 months, 16.5% at 12 months and 9.5% at 24 months; the pain was rated as moderate to severe in 3.6% at 24 months. Acute postoperative pain predicted both the presence and severity of persistent postoperative pain. The more intense the pain during the first week after surgery and the more it interfered with functioning, the more likely the patients were to report persistent postoperative pain. Pre-existing persistent pain and increased preoperative anxiety also predicted the presence of persistent postoperative pain.
Persistent postoperative pain of nonanginal origin after cardiac surgery affected a substantial proportion of the study population. Future research is needed to determine whether interventions to modify certain risk factors, such as preoperative anxiety and the severity of pain before and immediately after surgery, may help to minimize or prevent persistent postoperative pain.
PMCID: PMC3986330  PMID: 24566643
2.  The ethics of Canadian entry-to-practice pain competencies: How are we doing? 
Although unrelieved pain continues to represent a significant problem, prelicensure educational programs tend to include little content related to pain. Standards for professional competence strongly influence curricula and have the potential to ensure that health science students have the knowledge and skill to manage pain in a way that also allows them to meet professional ethical standards.
To perform a systematic, comprehensive examination to determine the entry-to-practice competencies related to pain required for Canadian health science and veterinary students, and to examine how the presence and absence of pain competencies relate to key competencies of an ethical nature.
Entry-to-practice competency requirements related to pain knowledge, skill and judgment were surveyed from national, provincial and territorial documents for dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology and veterinary medicine.
Dentistry included two and nursing included nine specific pain competencies. No references to competencies related to pain were found in the remaining health science documents. In contrast, the national competency requirements for veterinary medicine, surveyed as a comparison, included nine pain competencies. All documents included competencies pertaining to ethics.
The lack of competencies related to pain has implications for advancing skillful and ethical practice. The lack of attention to pain competencies limits the capacity of health care professionals to alleviate suffering, foster autonomy and use resources justly. Influencing professional bodies to increase the number of required entry-to-practice pain competencies may ultimately have the greatest impact on education and practice.
PMCID: PMC3665434  PMID: 23457683
Ethics; Pain competencies; Prelicensure health science students
3.  Innovation and design of a web-based pain education interprofessional resource 
Although web-based educational platforms are widely used in health professions education, there is little research evaluating the effectiveness of web-based, educational innovations. Much of the available research has failed to address several issues including innovation processes, sustainability, barriers to implementation and influences to the field, among others. Moreover, scholarly and reflective descriptions of important features of innovations that could advance understanding and inform teaching are largely absent from the literature. The authors of this article describe the development of an educational innovation process and design of a web-based, pain interprofessional resource for prelicensure health science students in universities across Canada.
The present article describes educational innovation processes and design of a web-based pain interprofessional resource for prelicensure health science students in universities across Canada. Operationalization of educational theory in design coupled with formative evaluation of design are discussed, along with strategies that support collaborative innovation.
Educational design was driven by content, theory and evaluation. Pain misbeliefs and teaching points along the continuum from acute to persistent pain were identified. Knowledge-building theory, situated learning, reflection and novel designs for cognitive scaffolding were then employed. Design research principles were incorporated to inform iterative and ongoing design.
An authentic patient case was constructed, situated in inter-professional complex care to highlight learning objectives related to pre-operative, postoperative and treatment up to one year, for a surgical cancer patient. Pain mechanisms, assessment and management framed content creation. Knowledge building scaffolds were used, which included video simulations, embedded resources, concurrent feedback, practice-based reflective exercises and commentaries. Scaffolds were refined to specifically support knowledge translation. Illustrative commentaries were designed to explicate pain misbeliefs and best practices. Architecture of the resource was mapped; a multimedia, interactive prototype was created. This pain education resource was developed primarily for individual use, with extensions for interprofessional collective discourse.
Translation of curricular content scripts into representation maps supported the collaborative design process by establishing a common visual language. The web-based prototype will be formatively and summatively evaluated to assess pedagogic design, knowledge-translation scaffolds, pain knowledge gains, relevance, feasibility and fidelity of this educational innovation.
PMCID: PMC3298045  PMID: 22184552
Innovation; Interprofessional; Pain; Resource; Web-based
4.  The Postoperative Pain Assessment Skills pilot trial 
A significant number of patients continue to experience unrelieved, moderate-to-severe postoperative pain, which can have cardiovascular, pulmonary, gastrointestinal and immunological consequences. Poor pain assessment skills and many common misconceptions about pain among health care professionals (HCPs) are among the factors contributing to inadequate postoperative pain assessment and relief. Although standardized patients (SP) have been successfully used as a simulation method to improve HCP’s assessment skills, not all centres have SP programs. Accordingly, this pilot study examined the efficacy of an alternative simulation method – deteriorating patient simulation – for improving HCP’s pain assessment skills.
Pain-related misbeliefs among health care professionals (HCPs) are common and contribute to ineffective postoperative pain assessment. While standardized patients (SPs) have been effectively used to improve HCPs’ assessment skills, not all centres have SP programs. The present equivalence randomized controlled pilot trial examined the efficacy of an alternative simulation method – deteriorating patient-based simulation (DPS) – versus SPs for improving HCPs’ pain knowledge and assessment skills.
Seventy-two HCPs were randomly assigned to a 3 h SP or DPS simulation intervention. Measures were recorded at baseline, immediate postintervention and two months postintervention. The primary outcome was HCPs’ pain assessment performance as measured by the postoperative Pain Assessment Skills Tool (PAST). Secondary outcomes included HCPs knowledge of pain-related misbeliefs, and perceived satisfaction and quality of the simulation. These outcomes were measured by the Pain Beliefs Scale (PBS), the Satisfaction with Simulated Learning Scale (SSLS) and the Simulation Design Scale (SDS), respectively. Student’s t tests were used to test for overall group differences in postintervention PAST, SSLS and SDS scores. One-way analysis of covariance tested for overall group differences in PBS scores.
DPS and SP groups did not differ on post-test PAST, SSLS or SDS scores. Knowledge of pain-related misbeliefs was also similar between groups.
These pilot data suggest that DPS is an effective simulation alternative for HCPs’ education on postoperative pain assessment, with improvements in performance and knowledge comparable with SP-based simulation. An equivalence trial to examine the effectiveness of deteriorating patient-based simulation versus standardized patients is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3298048  PMID: 22184553
Pain assessment; Randomized controlled trial; Simulation
6.  The long-term safety and efficacy of opioids: A survey of 84 selected patients with intractable chronic noncancer pain 
The use of opioids for chronic noncancer pain (CNCP) remains controversial. Despite a number of randomized controlled trials showing efficacy and safety in the short term, long-term data are limited.
To survey a selected cohort of patients with intractable CNCP with regard to long-term efficacy and safety of opioids.
The present study reports long-term results from a survey of 84 patients with CNCP. The majority of patients had neuropathic pain, were treated with opioids and were followed every three months for a median of 8.4 years. Outcomes examined were pain severity, adverse effects, pain relief, satisfaction, mood, problematic opioid use, tolerance, physical dependency, functional status, health-related quality of life, immune status, sexual function, morbidity and mortality. Measures included a numerical rating scale, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Brief Pain Inventory interference scale, Pain Disability Index and Short-Form Health Survey 12, version 2.
Both long- and short-acting opioids were reported to be effective, with few significant long-term adverse effects in many subjects in the present selected cohort. The majority of patients reported at least 50% or greater pain relief and a moderate improvement in disability. Functional status and health-related quality of life scores were not severely affected. Problematic opioid use, tolerance and serious adverse effects, including constipation, were not major issues. The authors emphasize that the results obtained in the present selected group may not be generalizable to all CNCP patients in whom opioids are being initiated.
PMCID: PMC2935720  PMID: 20808965
Chronic noncancer pain; Long term; Neuropathic pain; Opioids
7.  Self management training in refractory angina 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2008;336(7640):338-339.
May improve health related quality of life and cut treatment costs
PMCID: PMC2244745  PMID: 18276669
8.  Cardiac Home Education and Support Trial (CHEST): A pilot study 
The Canadian Journal of Cardiology  2009;25(12):e393-e398.
Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is performed more frequently in individuals who are older and sicker than in previous years. Increased patient acuity and reduced hospital length of stays leave individuals ill prepared for their recovery.
To test the feasibility of a peer support program and determine indicators of the effects of peer support on recovery outcomes of individuals following CABG surgery.
A pre-post test pilot randomized clinical trial design enrolled men and women undergoing first-time nonemergency CABG surgery at a single site in Ontario. Patients were randomly assigned to either usual care or peer support. Patients allocated to usual care (n=50) received standard preoperative and postoperative education. Patients in the peer support group (n=45) received individualized education and support via telephone from trained cardiac surgery peer volunteers for eight weeks following hospital discharge. Most (93%) peer volunteers believed they were prepared for their role, with 98% of peer volunteers initiating calls within 72 h of the patient’s discharge. Peer volunteers made an average of 12 calls, less than 30 min in duration over the eight-week recovery period. Patients were satisfied with their peer support (n=45, 98%). The intervention group reported statistical trends toward improved physical function (physical component score) (t [89]=−1.6; P=0.12) role function (t [93]=−1.9; P=0.06), less pain (t [93]=1.30; P=0.20) and improved cardiac rehabilitation enrollment (χ2=2.50, P=0.11).
These preliminary results suggest that peer support may improve recovery outcomes following CABG. Data from the present pilot trial also indicate that a home-based peer support intervention is feasible and an adequately powered trial should be conducted.
PMCID: PMC2807834  PMID: 19960132
Convalescence; Coronary artery bypass; Quality of life; Social support
9.  Process evaluation of appreciative inquiry to translate pain management evidence into pediatric nursing practice 
Appreciative inquiry (AI) is an innovative knowledge translation (KT) intervention that is compatible with the Promoting Action on Research in Health Services (PARiHS) framework. This study explored the innovative use of AI as a theoretically based KT intervention applied to a clinical issue in an inpatient pediatric care setting. The implementation of AI was explored in terms of its acceptability, fidelity, and feasibility as a KT intervention in pain management.
A mixed-methods case study design was used. The case was a surgical unit in a pediatric academic-affiliated hospital. The sample consisted of nurses in leadership positions and staff nurses interested in the study. Data on the AI intervention implementation were collected by digitally recording the AI sessions, maintaining logs, and conducting individual semistructured interviews. Data were analysed using qualitative and quantitative content analyses and descriptive statistics. Findings were triangulated in the discussion.
Three nurse leaders and nine staff members participated in the study. Participants were generally satisfied with the intervention, which consisted of four 3-hour, interactive AI sessions delivered over two weeks to promote change based on positive examples of pain management in the unit and staff implementation of an action plan. The AI sessions were delivered with high fidelity and 11 of 12 participants attended all four sessions, where they developed an action plan to enhance evidence-based pain assessment documentation. Participants labeled AI a 'refreshing approach to change' because it was positive, democratic, and built on existing practices. Several barriers affected their implementation of the action plan, including a context of change overload, logistics, busyness, and a lack of organised follow-up.
Results of this case study supported the acceptability, fidelity, and feasibility of AI as a KT intervention in pain management. The AI intervention requires minor refinements (e.g., incorporating continued follow-up meetings) to enhance its clinical utility and sustainability. The implementation process and effectiveness of the modified AI intervention require evaluation in a larger multisite study.
PMCID: PMC3000375  PMID: 21092118
10.  A survey of prelicensure pain curricula in health science faculties in Canadian universities 
The present exploratory, descriptive study aimed to determine the designated time for mandatory pain content in curricula of major Canadian universities for students in health science and veterinary programs before being licensed.
Major Canadian university sites (n=10) were chosen where health science faculties included at least medicine (n=10) and nursing (n=10); many also included dentistry (n=8), pharmacy (n=7), physical therapy (n=8) and/or occupational therapy (n=6). These disciplines provide the largest number of students entering the workforce but are not the only ones contributing to the health professional team. Veterinary programs (n=4) were also surveyed as a comparison. The Pain Education Survey, developed from previous research and piloted, was used to determine total mandatory pain hours.
The majority of health science programs (67.5%) were unable to specify designated hours for pain. Only 32.5% respondents could identify specific hours allotted for pain course content and/or additional clinical conferences. The average total time per discipline across all years varied from 13 h to 41 h (range 0 h to 109 h). All veterinary respondents identified mandatory designated pain content time (mean 87 h, range 27 h to 200 h). The proportion allotted to the eight content categories varied, but time was least for pain misbeliefs, assessment and monitoring/follow-up planning.
Only one-third of the present sample could identify time designated for teaching mandatory pain content. Two-thirds reported ‘integrated’ content that was not quantifiable or able to be determined, which may suggest it is not a priority at that site. Many expressed a need for pain-related curriculum resources.
PMCID: PMC2807771  PMID: 20011714
Canadian health science universities; Prelicensure pain curricula
12.  Cost of illness for chronic stable angina patients enrolled in a self-management education trial 
The Canadian Journal of Cardiology  2008;24(10):759-764.
Chronic stable angina (CSA) is a major debilitating health problem in Canada. A paucity of relevant cardiovascular data sets has precluded a detailed examination of the impact of interventions on CSA-related costs and its broader economic burden.
As part of a larger clinical trial, the authors sought to determine the short-term impact of a standardized self-management training program on CSA-related costs. A secondary objective was to estimate the total annualized cost of CSA per patient from a societal perspective.
Pre- and three-month post-test cost data were collected on 117 participants using the Ambulatory Home Care Record. Mean annualized direct, indirect and system-related CSA costs (2003 to 2005) were estimated; total per-patient CSA costs from a societal perspective were calculated as the sum of these costs.
The mean (± SD) age of participants was 68±11 years; 80% were male. The program did not impact costs in the short-term. Direct annual out-of-pocket costs, including money paid for health care, travel to appointments, medication, equipment and home support totaled $3,267. Indirect costs, reflecting the value of all unpaid time spent by those engaged in angina-related care, were $12,963. System costs, including costs paid by public and private insurers, were $2,979. Total estimated annual CSA costs from a societal perspective were $19,209 per patient.
These data suggest that CSA imposes a major economic burden, comparable with other prevalent conditions such as chronic noncancer pain. Advancements in self-management training research are needed to help reduce the economic burden of CSA in Canada.
PMCID: PMC2643155  PMID: 18841254
Angina; Cost-benefit analysis; Education
13.  Patterns of research utilization on patient care units 
Organizational context plays a central role in shaping the use of research by healthcare professionals. The largest group of professionals employed in healthcare organizations is nurses, putting them in a position to influence patient and system outcomes significantly. However, investigators have often limited their study on the determinants of research use to individual factors over organizational or contextual factors.
The purpose of this study was to examine the determinants of research use among nurses working in acute care hospitals, with an emphasis on identifying contextual determinants of research use. A comparative ethnographic case study design was used to examine seven patient care units (two adult and five pediatric units) in four hospitals in two Canadian provinces (Ontario and Alberta). Data were collected over a six-month period by means of quantitative and qualitative approaches using an array of instruments and extensive fieldwork. The patient care unit was the unit of analysis. Drawing on the quantitative data and using correspondence analysis, relationships between various factors were mapped using the coefficient of variation.
Units with the highest mean research utilization scores clustered together on factors such as nurse critical thinking dispositions, unit culture (as measured by work creativity, work efficiency, questioning behavior, co-worker support, and the importance nurses place on access to continuing education), environmental complexity (as measured by changing patient acuity and re-sequencing of work), and nurses' attitudes towards research. Units with moderate research utilization clustered on organizational support, belief suspension, and intent to use research. Higher nursing workloads and lack of people support clustered more closely to units with the lowest research utilization scores.
Modifiable characteristics of organizational context at the patient care unit level influences research utilization by nurses. These findings have implications for patient care unit structures and offer beginning direction for the development of interventions to enhance research use by nurses.
PMCID: PMC2490687  PMID: 18518966
15.  Core Competencies for Pain Management: Results of an Interprofessional Consensus Summit 
Pain Medicine (Malden, Mass.)  2013;14(7):971-981.
The objective of this project was to develop core competencies in pain assessment and management for prelicensure health professional education. Such core pain competencies common to all prelicensure health professionals have not been previously reported.
An interprofessional executive committee led a consensus-building process to develop the core competencies. An in-depth literature review was conducted followed by engagement of an interprofessional Competency Advisory Committee to critique competencies through an iterative process. A 2-day summit was held so that consensus could be reached.
The consensus-derived competencies were categorized within four domains: multidimensional nature of pain, pain assessment and measurement, management of pain, and context of pain management. These domains address the fundamental concepts and complexity of pain; how pain is observed and assessed; collaborative approaches to treatment options; and application of competencies across the life span in the context of various settings, populations, and care team models. A set of values and guiding principles are embedded within each domain.
These competencies can serve as a foundation for developing, defining, and revising curricula and as a resource for the creation of learning activities across health professions designed to advance care that effectively responds to pain.
PMCID: PMC3752937  PMID: 23577878
Pain; Pain Management; Clinical Competence; Competencies; Interprofessional; Curriculum; Education; Health Professions

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