The memorial pain assessment card. A valid instrument for the evaluation of cancer pain
Effective evaluation and treatment of cancer pain require valid and independent measurement of pain intensity, pain relief, and psychological distress. The Memorial Pain Assessment Card (MPAC) is a simple instrument designed to provide rapid evaluation of these subjective experiences. On the 8.5 by 11 inch card are printed the eight pain intensity descriptors, and three visual analog scales which measure pain intensity, pain relief, and mood. Experienced patients can complete it in less than 20 seconds. The authors administered the MPAC to 50 hospitalized cancer patients within 48 hours of referral to the Pain Service for inadequate pain control, together with standard measures: The McGill Pain Questionnaire, Profile of Mood States, Hamilton Depression Scale, and Zung Anxiety Scale. Correlational and multiple regression analyses revealed that the MPAC can distinguish pain intensity from pain relief and from general psychological distress, and it can provide multidimensional assessment that is practically equivalent to the full assessment battery. We conclude that the MPAC is valid and effective for clinical use, and recommend it for the assessment of individual patients, and as an outcome measure in clinical trials.