Understanding the Needs and Priorities of People Living with Persistent Pain and Long-Term Musculoskeletal Conditions during the COVID-19 Pandemic—A Public Involvement Project

FOWLER DAVIS, Sally, HUMPHREYS, Helen, MADEN-WILKINSON, Tom, WITHERS, Sarah, LOWE, Anna and COPELAND, Robert (2022). Understanding the Needs and Priorities of People Living with Persistent Pain and Long-Term Musculoskeletal Conditions during the COVID-19 Pandemic—A Public Involvement Project. Healthcare, 10 (6): 1130.

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Official URL: https://www.mdpi.com/2227-9032/10/6/1130
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10061130


Background: Critiques of public involvement (PI) are associated with failing to be inclusive of under-represented groups, and this leads to research that fails to include a diversity of perspectives. Aim: The aim of this PI project was to understand the experiences and priorities of people from three seldom-heard groups whose musculoskeletal pain may have been exacerbated or treatment delayed due to COVID-19. Engaging representatives to report diverse experiences was important, given the goal of developing further research into personalised and integrated care and addressing population health concerns about access and self-management for people with musculoskeletal pain. Methods: The project was approved via Sheffield Hallam University Ethics but was exempt from further HRA approval. A literature review was conducted, followed by informal individual and group discussions involving professionals and people with lived experience of (a) fibromyalgia pain, (b) those waiting for elective surgery and (c) experts associated with the care home sector. Findings from the literature review were combined with the insights from the public involvement. Resulting narratives were developed to highlight the challenges associated with persistent pain and informed the creation of consensus statements on the priorities for service improvement and future research. The consensus statements were shared and refined with input from an expert steering group. Results: The narratives describe pain as a uniformly difficult experience to share with professionals; it is described as exhausting, frustrating and socially limiting. Pain leads to exclusion from routine daily activities and often resigns people to feeling and being unwell. In all cases, there are concerns about accessing and improving services and critical issues associated with optimising physical activity, functional wellbeing and managing polypharmacy. Exercise and/or mobilisation are important and commonly used self-management strategies, but opportunity and advice about safe methods are variable. Services should focus on personalised care, including self-management support and medication management, so that people’s views and needs are heard and validated by health professionals. Conclusions: More research is needed to explore the most effective pain management strategies, and public involvement is important to shape the most relevant research questions. Health and care systems evaluation is also needed to address the scale of the population health need. The pandemic appears to have highlighted pre-existing shortcomings in holistic pain management.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10061130
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2022 15:51
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2023 11:30
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/30356

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