PATCH funds its first research project

PATCH is part-funding a research project examining what painkillers patients with advanced cancer had been prescribed before being admitted as an emergency or seen "out of hours".

The research project is being conducted in Tayside, Scotland and is a retrospective study that aims to see how relevant pain management is to patients who require “out of hours” (OOH) medical attention

Recent research suggests that uncontrolled pain in such patients may be the presenting complaint in up to 30% of unscheduled GP attendances and 25% of Accident and Emergency (A&E) attendances. (Aprile, 2013; Adam, 2014).

Data will be examined from patients identified as having an established diagnosis of cancer and being in the last 12 months of life. It will document which pain-killers are prescribed and how they are prescribed, to see if there is an association between prescribing practices such as the provision of breakthrough medication or the use of adjuvant treatment, and unscheduled or OOH care.

This research will provide an observational analysis of how pain is managed in those patients who seek help through the use of unscheduled care, and although this study looks at patients with cancer, it is hoped the results will be relevant to patients with advanced illness where the underlying cause is not cancer.

Dr Sarah Mills, SCREDS lecturer in Primary Care in Tayside, who is carrying out the research in collaboration with Professor Blair Smith and Dr Deans Buchanan said  “I’d like to thank PATCH Scotland and all their donors and contributors for this award. The PATCH funding will allow this project to begin immediately and will maximise our window for data collection  It will be a pleasure to work with PATCH to characterise why patients with terminal cancer access unscheduled care, particularly for pain-related presentations, in order to develop a better understanding of ways of improving the care they receive.”

Further information