PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To describe the usefulness of daily pain management diaries to outpatients with cancer who participated in a randomized clinical trial of the PRO-SELF Pain Control Program. DESIGN: Randomized clinical trial in which a daily pain management diary was used for data collection in the control group and for data collection and nurse coaching regarding the pain management program in the intervention group. SETTING: Seven outpatient oncology settings. SAMPLE: 155 patients with pain from bone metastases and 90 family caregivers. METHODS: Content and statistical analysis of audiotaped answers to a semistructured questionnaire. MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES: Patients' and family caregivers' perceptions of the usefulness of a daily pain management diary; specific ways in which the diary was used. FINDINGS: Patients in both the intervention (75%) and control groups (73%) found the diary useful. The diary was used to heighten awareness of pain, guide pain management behavior, enhance a sense of control, and facilitate communication. Family caregivers in both groups also reported that the diary was useful. CONCLUSIONS: The completion of a daily pain management diary is useful to patients and family caregivers and may function as an intervention for self-care. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING: Research-based evidence supports the importance of using a daily pain management diary in clinical practice.
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