A collaborative research utilization approach to evaluate the effects of pain management standards on patient outcomes

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The generation of research-based knowledge is incomplete unless it reaches clinicians at the point of care. Despite major advances in clinical research related to pain management, inadequate pain relief has become a significant quality issue in hospitalized patients, which has created an imperative for research-based pain management. Using a collaborative research utilization model, multidisciplinary academic scientists were paired with clinicians and undergraduate and graduate students to form a partnership that (1) examined the research base in pain management, (2) generated a research-based standard for pain management, and (3) evaluated the effect of that standard on four patient outcome variables in a 230-bed teaching hospital. A 2-group, pretest-intervention-posttest, quasi-experimental clinical trial composed of 173 surgical and oncology subjects was conducted. Subjects whose caregiver used the new standard had less pain during their hospital stay, less interference by pain with quality-of-life indicators, and greater satisfaction with the interventions used as well as caregiver responsiveness to their pain. Interestingly, each of these improvements decreased after their discharge home. These results strongly suggest the need for better postdischarge preparation for pain management and for further development and testing of pain management standards in postdischarge settings. They also provide the basis for extending the model to address other situations in which there is a lag between the promising results of empirical research and their integration into practice. (Index words: Collaboration; Collaborative research; Pain management standards; Research utilization) J Prof Nurs 16:240-250, 2000. Copyright © 2000 by W.B. Saunders Company.

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Journal of Professional Nursing