Qualitative analysis of long-term chronic pain program management outcomes: Veterans and civilians


This study sought to determine how patients with chronic pain could maintain functioning skills learnt at a four-week interdisciplinary pain management program, beyond the completion of the course. Comments from 16 Veterans and 23 civilians four months to four years after the end of the program showed 10 common themes.  Results emphasize that Veterans and civilians share a common experience and maintain their benefits from interdisciplinary care in managing chronic pain.


Introduction: This study evaluated the long-term (four months to four years) effectiveness of a four-week interdisciplinary chronic pain management program through qualitative analysis while also identifying differences between Veterans and civilians. Methods: This study used a mixed-methods approach. The quantitative data for this study are descriptive statistics for patient demographics and satisfaction measures. Qualitative data were collected through participants’ comments on two satisfaction measures, the Pain Program Satisfaction Questionnaire and the Self-Evaluation Scale. Of the 197 participants who completed the program, 67 returned follow-up measures, 39 of whom provided written comments. The 39 commenters consisted of 16 Veterans and 23 civilians. Comments were independently organized into themes by four researchers using an inductive approach. Results: Ten main themes emerged: 1) gratefulness for treatment and program, 2) improvement in ability, 3) new sense of resiliency, ability to cope, and new confidence, 4) empowered over recovery, 5) on the path to rehabilitation and recovery — a process and journey, 6) need for support groups, 7) some patients are doing well, but some still struggle, 8) patients need continued follow-up to ensure they are on track and do not regress, 9) timeliness of program — needed earlier in course of chronic pain, 10) program merits recommendation. Veterans and civilians had all themes in common. Discussion: Results emphasize the commonality of experience and sustained benefits of interdisciplinary care for managing chronic pain among both Veterans and civilians and provide opportunities for clinicians to improve quality and apply new services to the program.

Full Reference

Hapidou, Eleni G., Christina Hanna, Victoria Borg Debono, Eric Pham, Jennifer Anthonypillai, Sonya Altena, Lisa Patterson, and Ramesh Zacharias. "Qualitative analysis of long-term chronic pain program management outcomes: Veterans and civilians." Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health aop: e20210085.