Pain as a metaphor for illness. Part II: Family caregivers' management of pain.

B. R. Ferrell, M. Z. Cohen, M. Rhiner, A. Rozek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Changes in the healthcare system have made the patient's home the primary site of cancer care. Family members, already burdened with the psychological impact of having a loved one with cancer, take on caregiving roles to meet the multiple and complex needs of the patient. Part I of this two-part article focused on family caregivers' descriptions of the patients' pain and the impact of this pain on caregivers. A model of the Caregiver Experience of Pain is provided along with implications for future inquiry and clinical practice. Themes identified in caregiver roles in medication administration included deciding what to give, deciding when to give, night duty, reminding/encouraging, keeping records, fear of addiction, and doing everything. Caregiver roles in nondrug interventions included positioning/mobility, massage, use of ointments/lotions, cold, heat, being there through touch, avoiding touch, and talk and other distractions. Caregiver perceptions of what doctors or nurses could do better included themes of being there, explain, be honest/listen, addiction concern, and giving medication. Caregiver questions included areas of future, understanding why, death, concern about medications, and fear about what to do at home. The study results offer important suggestions for oncology nurses in supporting family caregivers in the management of the patient in pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1315-1321
Number of pages7
JournalOncology nursing forum
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology(nursing)


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