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The Impact of Preoperative Distress: A Qualitative analysis of the Perioperative Pain Self-Management Intervention.

Steffensmeier KS, Van Tiem J, Obrecht A, Conrad M, Vander Weg MW, Hadlandsmyth K. The Impact of Preoperative Distress: A Qualitative analysis of the Perioperative Pain Self-Management Intervention. Pain Management Nursing : Official Journal of The American Society of Pain Management Nurses. 2022 Apr 1; 23(2):212-219.

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PURPOSE: Preoperatively distressed patients are at elevated risk for chronic postsurgical pain. Active psychological interventions show promise for mitigating chronic postsurgical pain. This study describes experiences of preoperatively distressed (elevated depressive symptom, anxious symptoms, or pain catastrophizing) and non-distressed participants who participated in the psychologically based Perioperative Pain Self-management (PePS) intervention. DESIGN: This is a qualitative study designed to capture participants'' perspectives and feedback about their experiences during the PePS intervention. METHODS: Interviews were semi-structured, conducted by telephone, audio-recorded, transcribed, and audited for accuracy. Coded interviews were analyzed using a quote matrix to discern possible qualitative differences in what preoperatively distressed and non-distressed participants found most and least helpful about the intervention. RESULTS: Twenty-one participants completed interviews, 7 of whom were classified as distressed. Distressed participants identified learning how to reframe their pain as the most helpful part of the intervention. Non-distressed participants focused on the benefit of relaxation skill-building to manage post-surgical pain. Distressed and non-distressed participants both emphasized the importance of the social support aspects of PePS and- identified goal-setting as challenging. CONCLUSIONS: Distressed and non-distressed participants emphasized different preferences for pain management strategies offered by PePS. Most participants emphasized the importance of social support that PePS provided. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Our results indicate that post-operative patients may benefit from interpersonal interaction with a trained interventionist. Our findings also suggest that distressed and non-distressed patients may benefit from varied intervention approaches. How to build flexibility into a manualized intervention or whether these subsets of patients would benefit more from different interventions is a direction for future research.

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