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Arch Hellen Med, 37(6), November-December 2019, 810-820


What do patients and health professionals know about pain management and palliative care services?

C. Staikou,1 F. Ifantidis,2 H. Logotheti,2 Z. Massourou,2 I. Siafaka1
1First Department of Anesthesia, Pain Relief and Palliative Care, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens,
2Department of Anesthesia, Pain Relief and Palliative Care, General Hospital of Volos, Volos, Greece

OBJECTIVE To assess the level of knowledge and information of health professionals and patients regarding pain clinics and palliative care services.

METHOD Questionnaires were distributed in the General Hospital of Volos in Central Greece. The questionnaires included 20, 10 and 7 questions, respectively, to be answered by doctors and nurses, and by patients visiting the pain clinic and hospitalized patients.

RESULTS Of the 316 questionnaires distributed, 300 (94.9%) were completed and analyzed. Only a few doctors (30.0%) and nurses (40.0%) knew that nurses can work in the pain clinics, while over 25.0% of the respondents believed that only cancer pain is treated in these centers. Among the hospitalized patients 35.0% did not know what a pain clinic is. Patients thought that the pain specialists are mainly surgeons (26.0%), anesthesiologists (24.0%) and internists (23.0%), and 86.0% reported that they know nothing about palliative care. Among the pain clinic patients, 43.0% reported that they had tried non-pharmacological treatments, mainly physiotherapy (67.0%) and acupuncture (49.0%), while other alternative treatments were not so popular (<5%). Very small percentages (<3%) reported the mass media/internet as a source of information regarding pain clinics and palliative care services. About half of the respondents (57.0%) declared that they were satisfied with the pain management services in Greece.

CONCLUSIONS Τhe answers revealed a very basic and sometimes incorrect knowledge on a number of issues related to the function and role of pain clinics and palliative care services, on the part of both health professionals and patients. Focused training of scientists and a coordinated program to inform citizens are deemed necessary, to ensure the provision of proper care to suffering patients.

Key words: Health professionals, Knowledge, Pain, Pain clinics, Palliative care, Patients.

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