Balancing Patient-Centered and Safe Pain Care for Nonsurgical Inpatients: Clinical and Managerial Perspectives

Olena Mazurenko, Barbara T. Andraka-Christou, Matthew J. Bair, Areeba Y. Kara, Christopher A. Harle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Hospitals and clinicians aim to deliver care that is safe. Simultaneously, they are ensuring that care is patient centered, meaning that it is respectful of patients’ values, preferences, and experiences. However, little is known about delivering care in cases in which these goals may not align. For example, hospitals and clinicians are facing the daunting challenge of balancing safe and patient-centered pain care for nonsurgical patients, due to lack of comprehensive care guidelines and complexity of this patient population. Methods: To gather clinical and managerial perspectives on the importance, feasibility, and strategies used to balance patient-centered care (PCC)and safe pain care for nonsurgical inpatients, the research team conducted in-depth, semistructured interviews with hospitalists, registered nurses, and health care managers from one health care system in the Midwestern United States. We systematically examined transcribed interviews and identified major themes using a thematic analysis approach. Results: Participants acknowledged the importance of balancing PCC and safe pain care. They envisioned this balance as a continuum, with certain patients for whom it is easier (for example, an opioid-naive patient with a fracture), vs. more difficult (for example, a patient with opioid use disorder). Participants reported several strategies they use to balance PCC and safe pain care, including offering alternatives to opioids, setting realistic pain goals and expectations, and using a team approach. Conclusion: Clinicians and health care managers use various strategies to balance PCC and safe pain care for nonsurgical patients. Future studies should examine the effectiveness of these strategies on patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-248
Number of pages8
JournalJoint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management

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