This paper is a critique of the research article by Egan and Cornally (2013) entitled: “Identifying Barriers to Pain Management in Long-Term Care”. The problem being studied is clearly expressed as it concerns the identification of hindrances to the management of pain in long-term care (LTC). The authors affirm that the incidence of chronic pain in LTC residents ranges from 45% to 80%. The purpose of the study was to establish obstacles to optimum pain management in long-term care from a nursing standpoint.
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Egan and Cornally (2013) failed to encompass any research question or hypothesis in their research article. Instead, the authors chose to employ strong statements in the introduction section as an approach to supporting the center of focus of the study. They first demonstrated the adverse impact of unmanaged pain in long-term care on the quality of life of patients. Therefore, successful management of pain in long-term care is a crucial concern.
Presently, there is only partial use of best practice guidelines attributable to the existing barriers, which may be classified as the health care provider, patient, and organization. Nonetheless, rather than the use of such statements, the authors should have improved the research article with the use of research questions since they create an extensive restatement of the intention of the study.
The research article by Egan and Cornally (2013) utilized a quantitative, cross-sectional, descriptive design. One of the strengths of this form of design is that its outcome is simple to establish and the findings may be expressed evidently through objective statistics. Moreover, it is difficult to disagree with the results of quantitative design as compared to qualitative study, which is anchored in observation as opposed to numerical data.
The weaknesses of the design used include the fact that it cannot clarify social phenomena and is less helpful in disciplines such as sociology. Quantitative design can state what is taking place but does not offer adequate insight as to why it is occurring since this calls for an observation that arises in qualitative research (Creswell & Creswell, 2017). Therefore, the quantitative design does not sufficiently account for non-numerical data, for instance, beliefs, feelings, and imagination. The authors could have utilized the design since it makes it easy to make predictions attributable to its numerical foundation.
The target population for the study by Egan and Cornally (2013) was all the nurses dealing with older patients in long-term care. For practical reasons, convenience sampling was employed in the research. Out of the 138 nurses selected, 83 took part in the study. 95% of the respondents were female, and only 5% were male. The sample size for this study was inadequate since it cannot make a generalizable outcome of the research. According to the intent of the study, an adequate sample would be of more than 200 respondents selected across the country or a broader region. Additionally, the sample for the study comprised an unrepresentative number of male respondents. This could have negatively affected the validity of the study because male respondents were weakly represented.
The authors, Egan and Cornally, acted as the researchers who collected data for this study. A self-report questionnaire was the tool employed in data collection. The ethical consideration addressed in the study was seeking approval from the medical research ethics board of the Cork Teaching Hospitals (Egan & Cornally, 2013). There is a need to come up with practical approaches that address the identified barriers to optimum pain management in LTC.
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One of the limitations of this study is in the application of an inadequate sample where female respondents were overrepresented. This could be overcome by ensuring a bigger and balanced sample, for instance, a sample of over 200 participants with nearly 50% of male respondents. Another limitation was the failure to emphasize the aspect of confidentiality, which could result in fear of participants opening up, hence affecting the credibility of the research. This could be surmounted by assuring respondents that the data shared would be treated with utmost privacy and emphasizing it for enhanced reassurance (Petrova, Dewing, & Camilleri, 2016). Limitations are important to discuss and list within a research article since they alert future researchers of the areas that they need to address to avoid making the same mistake.
The findings of the study were that patient-associated hindrances such as failure to complete pain scales, difficulties with cognition, and communication problems interfere with optimum management of pain more strongly when compared to caregiver-associated or organizational-associated barriers. Despite the absence of research questions in the article, the findings addressed the problem being studied. The findings are credible as the hindrances identified are common to older patients as in the case of this research.
Unmanaged pain may have deep physical and psychosocial effects for older patients, for instance, anxiety, depression, sleep disorder, reduced socialization, and loss of function. This leads to unnecessary distress and has a negative impact on the quality of life. A targeted process to tackle the discovered hindrances would assist in the improvement of pain management approaches in long-term care (Egan & Cornally, 2013). Based on the findings of the study, the evidence found is strong enough to suggest a change in practice through enhanced education that underscores the practical application of evaluation tools, especially among older patients. Identification of hindrances to optimum pain management is vital to the creation of effective interventions that guarantee the quality of life among older patients.
Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. D. (2017). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage publications.
Egan, M., & Cornally, N. (2013). Identifying barriers to pain management in long-term care. Nursing Older People, 25(7), 25-31.
Petrova, E., Dewing, J., & Camilleri, M. (2016). Confidentiality in participatory research: Challenges from one study. Nursing Ethics, 23(4), 442-454.