fbpx Understanding the use of pain management and other health services by people living with chronic pain | NDARC - National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre

Understanding the use of pain management and other health services by people living with chronic pain

image - Drsoffice
Date Commenced:
Expected Date of Completion:
Project Members: 
image - Hopkins Ria Headshot
Senior Research Officer
Ph +61-2-9065-7831
Associate Professor
Ph 02 9385 0333
Project Main Description: 

This study involves semi-structured interviews with people living with CNCP conducted either by telephone or face-to-face (Randwick, Sydney), depending on the preference and location of the participant. The interviews will be conducted by the student investigator (RH) with approximately 30 people living with CNCP. Interviews will last up to 60 minutes. Participants will be interviewed once; there will be no follow-up data collection. Interviews will be audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data will be analysed using inductive thematic analysis and building on previous frameworks.

Participants will be reimbursed $20 for their time.

The research study is looking to recruit people who meet the following criteria:

  • have been living with chronic pain for at least 3 months and
  • are able to complete a telephone interview in English

Participants who meet the following criteria will be excluded from the study:

  • if you are under the age of 18 years old
  • if your pain is related to cancer
  • or if you are receiving palliative care services.

If you would like more information, please contact Ria Hopkins on (02) 9065 7831 or email ria.hopkins@unsw.edu.au. A researcher will tell you more about the study, and you may decide whether you want to take part. Not everyone is eligible for the study, so we’ll ask a few screening questions to ensure the study is suitable for you.


Project Collaborators: External: 

Dr Gabrielle Campbell, Senior Research Fellow, University of the Sunshine Coast


Chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP - persistent pain over 3 months in duration not associated with malignancy) affects 1 in 5 Australian adults, and is associated with significant personal and societal cost, including limiting the ability of individuals to engage in everyday employment and community activities. Accessible and evidence-based pain management is essential from both an individual and a broader societal viewpoint. However, previous studies have reported that the uptake of multidisciplinary and non-pharmacological pain management services varies greatly.


The aim of this project is to explore the experiences of people living with CNCP as they access the health system, including potential barriers and enablers to accessing different health services for CNCP management. This study is important because it will fill current gaps in the literature and provide a better understanding of how people access pain management services, informing future service planning and patient-centered approaches to chronic pain management.

Design and Method: 

This qualitative study will use semi-structured interviews to explore the experiences of ~30 Australians living with CNCP as they navigate the health system. Understanding the lived experiences of Australians with CNCP is essential to inform evidence-based, patient-centred care approaches to effective management, and current barriers to health service access must be understood to inform service planning.


Recruitment for this study is now closed. Data analysis is currently underway.


While the benefits to individual participants are expected to be minimal, benefits are expected to be experienced more broadly for people living with CNCP through increased knowledge of the barriers faced, as well as identification of gaps in current pain service delivery. We hope this study will help improve the services available for people with chronic pain.

Project Research Area: 
Project Status: