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Counseling Veterans with Chronic Pain During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Controlled Trial.

Lazar CM, Rosen MI, Sellinger J, Mattocks K, Navarra L, Ross KA, Martino S. Counseling Veterans with Chronic Pain During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Controlled Trial. Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.). 2022 Aug 1; 23(8):1434-1441.

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Abstract:

INTRODUCTION: Veterans with chronic pain could be vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. We qualitatively explored the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on a sample of veterans receiving brief counseling focused on pain management in an ongoing clinical trial and discuss how the pandemic affected the process of motivating veterans with chronic pain to engage in interdisciplinary multimodal pain treatment at the Department of Veteran Affairs. METHODS: Segments of audio-recorded counseling sessions containing content about the pandemic were transcribed and coded to identify key concepts emerging from individual counselor-participant transactions. Themes that emerged were examined with constant comparison analysis. RESULTS: Three major themes emerged. 1) The pandemic caused a disruption in pain management service delivery, resulting in changes to the way veterans receive services or manage their pain symptoms. 2) The pandemic offered opportunities for resilience and personal growth as veterans with chronic pain reflected on their lives and personal goals. 3) The pandemic brought veterans'' mental health issues to the forefront, and these should be addressed as part of a comprehensive pain management approach. DISCUSSION: Discussion of the COVID-19 pandemic during pain treatment counseling sessions highlighted negative and positive ways participants were affected by the pandemic. These discussions provided counselors with a unique opportunity to facilitate behavior change by focusing on characteristics of resilience to motivate individuals with chronic pain to adapt and adopt positive behaviors and outlooks to improve their pain experience and quality of life. CONCLUSIONS: Counselors can leverage feelings of resilience and personal growth to motivate veterans'' use of adaptive coping skills and a wider array of pain management services.





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