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Patients' Experiences with Telecare for Chronic Pain and Mood Symptoms: A Qualitative Study.

Matthias MS, Evans E, Porter B, McCalley S, Kroenke K. Patients' Experiences with Telecare for Chronic Pain and Mood Symptoms: A Qualitative Study. Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.). 2020 Oct 1; 21(10):2137-2145.

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OBJECTIVE: Pain, anxiety, and depression commonly co-occur, can have reciprocal effects, and are associated with substantial disability and health care costs. However, few interventions target treatment of pain and mood disorders as a whole. The Comprehensive vs. Assisted Management of Mood and Pain Symptoms (CAMMPS) trial was a randomized trial comparing two pragmatic telecare interventions, a high- vs low-resource approach to pain and anxiety/depression treatment. The purpose of the current study is to better understand patients' perspectives on both intervention approaches, including intervention components, delivery, patient experiences, and patient outcomes. DESIGN: Qualitative, semistructured interviews. SETTING: A Veterans Affairs Medical Center. SUBJECTS: Twenty-five patients were purposefully sampled from both study arms. METHODS: Patients were interviewed about their experiences with pain and mood treatment, perceived benefits and changes, and experiences with the intervention model to which they were randomized. The constant comparison method guided analysis. RESULTS: Pain was more important than mood for most participants. Participants described developing increased awareness of their symptoms, including connecting pain and mood, which enabled better management. Participants in the high-resource intervention described the added value of the study nurse in their symptom management. CONCLUSIONS: Patients in a telecare intervention for chronic pain and mood symptoms learned to connect pain and mood and be more aware of their symptoms, enabling more effective symptom management. Patients in the high-resource intervention described the added benefits of a nurse who provided informational and motivational support. Implications for tradeoffs between resource intensity and patient outcomes are discussed.

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