Nursing home care providers were able to more smoothly adopt evidence-based pain management guidelines when they had the support of pain management champions, a study in Sweden has found.

A pain champion is a registered nurse who serves as a source of information and as a “change agent” in programs designed to improve pain care, according to Kaiser Permanente. 

In the current study, training workshops were held in four nursing homes, and trained pain champions were introduced. Investigators analyzed care provider surveys at three and six months from the beginning of the program. They also gauged care providers’ responses to the new strategies using focus groups.

There was a significant increase in care workers’ self‐efficacy at both time points, reported Franziska Zúñiga Ph.D., RN, of the University of Basel in Switzerland. This result also may have accounted for the workers’ better performance during comprehensive pain assessments and when using observational pain assessment tools in cognitively impaired residents, she and her colleagues said. 

Care workers reported positive experiences, saying that they felt more attentive to their residents’ experience of pain during the program. They also described assessing and documenting pain in more detail than before.

The findings highlight how training and use of pain champions can increase contribute to behavior change among workers, leading to effective adoption of pain management guidelines, Zúñiga and colleagues concluded. 

The study was published online ahead of print in the journal Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing