Involvement of Family and Friends in Pain Management Interventions

Lucinda Mawdsley, Hannah Twiddy, Melissa Longworth

Abstract


Context/Background: Chronic pain (CP) is a major public health concern effecting 7.8 million people in the UK alone1. Family members and close friends play an important role in supporting those with CP. Previous research demonstrates that it is not solely the individual diagnosed with CP that is effected, but also significant others such as family and friends (F&F).

Objectives: The current study will consider the role of F&F in supporting individuals with CP to adjust to life with pain and aims to demonstrate the importance of their involvement on a pain management programme (PMP).

Method: A new F&F session was added to a well-established PMP based at the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust in Liverpool, UK. A mixed methods questionnaire based service evaluation was conducted over a period of six months to determine the usefulness and value of F&F involvement on a PMP from the perspective of patients and their F&F.

Results: Quantitative data highlighted positive perceptions of the session, with 65.4% of participants rating the session content as ‘very good’ and 71% rating session usefulness as ‘very good’. A thematic analysis further revealed high satisfaction levels in how the session improved understanding of self-management approaches (42.2%), communication techniques (22.8%) and satisfaction reported by patients around having a F&F present on the programme (13.3%).

Conclusions: The inclusion of significant others on a PMP was shown to be a valuable addition to the established group programme. It is valued both by patients, and F&F alike, and is in line with previous findings that carer inclusion can be crucial in supporting the development of self-management strategies and support. Limitations of the study include its cross-sectional design and variation of session delivery.

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