BACKGROUND: The assessment of pain management outcomes is important for the quality assurance of palliative care. The objective of this study was to determine whether there are significant variations in pain management outcomes among palliative care centers and whether they are affected by organizational factors.
METHODS: Data used in this investigation were from the 2009 Korean Terminal Cancer Patient Information System and administrative records of the 34 inpatient palliative care centers designated by the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare in 2009. Self-reported pain scores (range, from 0 to 10) at admission and 1 week after admission were prospectively collected. Multilevel mixed-effect regression models were used to analyze the variations and the impact of organizational-level factors on 2 pain management outcomes (ie, reduction in average pain score and achievement of adequate pain control at 1 week after admission).
RESULTS: In total, 1711 patients with terminal cancer were included in the analyses. The mean reduction in the pain score was 0.69 to 1.91 after 1 week, and most patients (82.8%) achieved adequate pain control. There were significant variations in pain management outcomes among palliative care centers. Higher composite scores for human resources adequacy were associated significantly with a greater reduction in pain score (β, 0.11; 95% confidence interval, 0.01-0.21), and achievement of adequate pain control (adjusted odds ratio, 1.26; 95% confidence interval, 1.10-1.45).
CONCLUSIONS: There were significant variations in pain management outcomes among inpatient palliative care centers, and they were affected by organizational factors, such as human resources adequacy.