A network for pain management

Connecting healthcare professionals, consumers, and experts in pain management, the Agency for Clinical Innovation’s Pain Management Network are taking a collaborative approach to pain management to help those living with chronic pain in our communities, writes Retail Pharmacy’s, Samantha Crawford.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, one in five Australians over 45 live with persistent and ongoing pain.1

The statistic puts into perspective the extent of pain across Australia.

However, no one should have to live in pain, so finding better ways to manage it and creating collaborative networks are important to assist those living with chronic pain.

Highlighting new knowledge, successful management strategies and implementing a collaborative approach, the New South Wales, Agency of Clinical Innovation has created the Pain Management Network to help deliver accurate and evidence-based information to healthcare professionals and consumers.

Susan Rogers, Pain Management Network Manager at the New South Wales Agency for Clinical Innovation said, “the Agency for Clinical Innovation’s Pain Management Network brings together clinicians and consumers to progress initiatives that improve the healthcare experience and outcomes for people with chronic pain across NSW.”

Ms Rodgers said the Network aims to:

  1. “Listen and be responsive to the needs and concerns of consumers and clinicians.”
  2. “Promote equity of access to pain management services for consumers with chronic pain.”
  3. “Determine priorities for action and develop and support the implementation of new evidence-based and consensus models of care.”
  4. “Improve integration and coordination of care between hospital-based specialist multidisciplinary pain clinics, with community and primary health services.”
  5. “Collaborate with non-government organisations and peak bodies to achieve improved outcomes for consumers.”

Collaboration works

The Network provides a unique opportunity for consumers, clinicians, and key stakeholders to work together to develop healthcare innovations and integrated systems of care.

“The Pain Management Network provides a unique forum for consumers, clinicians, and stakeholders to collaborate to develop successful healthcare innovations. The people who join our Network share a common interest in improving healthcare and promoting an integrated healthcare system,” said Ms Rodgers.

“Bringing together leaders from primary, community and acute care settings, the Network enables a shared environment and capability for innovation and healthcare redesign.” She added, “We always welcome new members.”

Making healthcare accessible

The Pain Management Network has developed a website collating evidence-based information about pain management.

A/Professor Paul Wrigley, Co-Chair, Pain Management Network, Agency for Clinical Innovation, said, “the ACI’s Pain Management Network was established in 2010.

It has a broad membership of consumers and clinicians from both public and private care.

Accessible resources have been developed, including a website aimed at consumers and healthcare providers.

For health professionals seeking guidance, I would suggest initially viewing the two Quick Steps modules for pain management and opioid management.

The website also contains a wealth of other helpful resources for adults, youth and Aboriginal people facing the challenge of ongoing pain.”

Ms Rodgers said, ‘the website is the main source of information about pain management and chronic pain. In addition, the Network periodically hosts educational webinars and forums on topical issues.’

The Network’s chronic pain website aims to impart the latest information to health professionals and consumers to increase their understanding of pain management strategies.

Ms Rodgers said, “the Network has a Chronic Pain Website which provides information for health professionals and consumers around understanding and managing pain. There is specific information for young people, and Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.”

“The resources are co-developed by a working group of experienced clinicians and consumers. There are also appropriate links to other valuable information on relevant stakeholder websites.”

“The Network also provides information on where to find your nearest pain clinic and how to refer a patient, among other useful information. This can all be accessed via the Network’s main page on the ACI’s website.”

Reference: 

  1. Australian Institute for Heath and Welfare. Chronic Pain in Australia. May 2020. gov.au/getmedia/10434b6f-2147-46ab-b654-a90f05592d35/aihw-phe-267.pdf.aspx?inline=true#:~:text=How%20many%20Australians%20have%20chronic,%25)%20aged%2085%20and%20over[Accessed: 8.4.2022]

This article was originally published in the May issue of Retail Pharmacy magazine.