Pain associated with bleeding disorders has been demonstrated to have an impact on patients’ and families’ quality of life. Both acute and chronic pain are common experiences and require attention by professionals working in haemophilia treatment centres (HTCs). The benefits of psychological pain management strategies such as cognitive behaviour therapy and self-management skills training are well documented; however, it is not well understood how Canadian social workers involved in haemophilia care perceive and provide pain management support to patients.
To explore the current understanding of pain management and practice as well as the education needs of members of Canadian Social Workers in Hemophilia Care (CSWHC).
Twelve semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with members of CSWHC. Transcribed interviews were coded with NVivo software and thematically analysed.
The four key themes reflecting the experiences of social workers are: 1) Limited comprehension of key issues related to pain; 2) Conditioning to push through pain; 3) Expanding pain knowledge to enhance practice; 4) How we practice social work and choose to step in.
The current practice of CSWHC members aligns with literature in three main areas including assessment, instrumental services, and counselling. Social workers support the development of pain education and practical resources for patients with haemophilia who experience pain. While formal education, advocacy, and policy development of pain assessment and management are recognised, these areas require further research and development.