Use of multimedia in patient and caregiver education for cancer pain management: a literature review

Michael Lam, Matthew Choi, Helen R. Lam, Arnav Agarwal, Ronald Chow, Selina Chow, Leigha Rowbottom, Rachel McDonald, Henry Lam, Stephanie Chan, Edward Chow, Blair Henry


Pain is one of the most prominent symptoms faced by cancer patients. It is known that patient and caregiver-targeted educational interventions addressing the proper use of pain management may provide significant clinical value. This review examines the literature surrounding the use of multimedia interventions for patient and caregiver education (PCE) on pain management compared to traditional educational interventions. A literature search was conducted in Ovid MEDLINE (1946–July Week 2, 2016), Ovid Embase (1947–2016 Week 29), and Ovid Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (up to June 2016). Paired reviewers conducted title and abstract screening and full-text screening to identify experimental, quasi-experimental and cohort studies evaluating one or more multimedia-based PCE interventions focused on cancer pain and pain management and targeting patients and/or caregivers. Findings were extracted by paired reviewers and synthesized qualitatively. Of the 68 full-text papers assessed, 7 were deemed relevant, of which 5 were RCTs and 2 were observational studies. We found limited but convincing quantitative data to suggest that the use of multimedia use in pain management education for patients/caregivers has greater value-added benefit compared to standard education. While there is evidence suggesting a positive effect on pain-related outcomes with the use of multimedia-based patient and caregiver-targeted interventions, it is limited to a small number of lower-quality studies. More robust and large-scale studies are needed to supplement existing evidence and provide more insight regarding the usability and user-friendliness of these tools in practice.