Background A large number of the hospice patients have been reported to be with symptoms of pain. Thus, managing the patient’s pain is one aspect of hospice care provision. The delivery of pain care services could be facilitated through effective communication. However, little has been done to explore the interactional details of the delivery of pain care services in palliative care.
Methods Conversation analysis is a useful method to explore the interactional details of interaction by hospice care providers and terminally ill patients. Using the method of Conversation Analysis (CA), this study aims to demonstrate how the hospice care provider employs different types of interactional practices to address the patient’s pain concerns. The data showed in this study are collected from the Alexander St website http://ctiv.alexanderstreet.com, an educational resource presenting a large collection of psycho-therapeutic videos.
Results In this study, an illustrative analysis is demonstrated to show the potential of conversation analysis for research on pain talk in palliative care. It has been shown that conversation analysis could contribute to unfolding the interactional details regarding “pain talk” in hospice care settings. Specifically, conversation analysis could provide a detailed description and interpretation of the conversational practices, which are used to construct hospice care provider participation in delivering pain talk. In addition, conversation analysis could also demonstrate the interactional resources by which patients disclose their experiences of physical or spiritual pain to the hospice care provider and the way how the hospice care provider responds to the patient’s troubles talk or feelings talk.
Conclusions This study identifies five types of interactional resources which are used to deal with the patient’s pain concerns in hospice care setting. A conversation analytical study of pain talk in hospice care could provide a turn-by-turn description of how the hospice care provider communicates with the terminally ill patient in terms of the patient’s pain concerns. The findings in this study could inform how the hospice care provider initiates, delivers and develops a pain talk with the terminally ill patient effectively.