Managing pain is a common challenge for long-term and residential care because much of it is under-detected and not fully treated.  Facilities are able to better adopt evidence-based pain management guidelines when a “champion” is on board to lead the acceptance and use of such tools, according to a new study. This person is most commonly a registered nurse who can act as a change agent for programs that best improve pain care.

In the study, staff participated in workshops to learn about pain guidelines, and trained pain champions were introduced. The combination of the training and the champions resulted in a significant increase in the staffs’ self-efficacy. Additionally, researchers saw a relationship between self-efficacy and both the performance of comprehensive pain assessments and the use of observational pain assessment tools.

Team members ultimately were more receptive to guideline implementation strategies. Workshop participants also reported feeling more tuned into their residents’ pain experiences and were able to describe them in greater detail.

The study authors concluded by increasing self-efficacy, pain management champions could help induce staff behavior change that enabled providers to overcome even persistent implementation challenges.

Read the full study.