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Testing the Implementation of a Pain Self-management Support Intervention for Oncology Patients in Clinical Practice: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study (ANtiPain)

Koller Antje PhD RN; Gaertner, Jan MD; De Geest, Sabina PhD, RN, FAAN; Hasemann, Monika; Becker, Gerhild MD, MTh, MSc
doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000502
Article: PDF Only


In oncology, pain control is a persistent problem. Significant barriers to cancer pain management are patient related. Pain self-management support interventions have shown to reduce pain intensity and patient-related barriers. Comparative effectiveness research is a suitable approach to test whether effects are sustained in clinical practice.


In this pilot randomized controlled trial, the implementation of the ANtiPain intervention into clinical practice was tested to assess the effects on pain intensity, function-related outcomes, self-efficacy, and patient-related barriers to pain management to prepare a larger effectiveness trial.


Within 14 months, 39 adult oncology patients with pain scores of 3 or higher on a 10-point numeric rating scale were recruited in an academic comprehensive cancer center in Southern Germany. Patients in the control group (n=19) received standard care. Patients in the intervention group (n=20) received ANtiPain, a cancer pain self-management support intervention based on 3 key strategies: provision of information, skill building, and nurse coaching. An intervention session was performed in-hospital. After discharge, follow-up was provided via telephone calls. Data were collected at baseline and 1 and 6 weeks after discharge. Effect sizes were calculated for all outcomes.


Large effects were found for activity hindrance (Cohen d=0.90), barriers (d=0.91), and self-efficacy (d=0.90). Small to moderate effects were found for average and worst pain (Cohen d=0.17-0.45).


Key findings of this study involved function-related outcomes and self-efficacy.

Implications for Practice:

Because these outcomes are particularly meaningful for patients, the integration of ANtiPain to routine clinical practice may be substantial. A larger study will be based on these findings.

This research was funded through the program “Development and coordination of health services research in Baden-Württemberg” (Ausbau und Koordination der Versorgungsforschung in Baden-Württemberg), especially the “Junior researcher academy related to health services research” (Nachwuchsakademie Versorgungsforschung). In addition, funding was received by the INDICAR Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme, which is cofunded by the EU Frameworkprogramme 7 (FP7) Marie Curie Actions (grant agreement 609431).

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Antje Koller, PhD, RN, Institute of Nursing Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Vienna, Alser Str. 23/12, 1080 Vienna (

Accepted for publication February 15, 2017.

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