Patients’ Journeys through Total Joint Replacement: Patterns of Medication Use
Medication is used to manage pain that results from both osteoarthritis and total joint replacement (TJR). Research has provided insight into how people living with osteoarthritis use pain relief medication. However, it is not known whether elective TJR affects existing attitudes and behaviours with regard to pain medications. Using qualitative methods, the present study explored patterns of pain relief use around the time of TJR.
In-depth face-to-face qualitative interviews were carried out with 24 patients two to four weeks after they had undergone TJR for hip or knee osteoarthritis. Participants were asked to reflect on their use of pain medication pre-surgery, while in hospital and while recovering from their operation at home. Transcripts of the audio-recorded interviews were imported into Atlas.ti® and thematic analysis was used.
Attitudes to pain relief medication and their use are not static. Many participants change their use of pain medication around the time of surgery. This shift was influenced by interactions with health professionals and changing views on the acceptability, necessity and value of pain relief in helping to manage an altered pain experience.
Understanding reasons for medication-taking behaviour during the journey through joint replacement may be helpful to health professionals. Health professionals have a fundamental role to play in challenging or reinforcing different treatment beliefs, which is the basis for effective use of pain relief over the pre- to postoperative period. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.