Investing $1 million in easing pain and giving hope

British Columbians struggling with ongoing pain will have more access to help and to hope

VICTORIA – Chronic pain can be a debilitating condition, stealing comfort and happiness from life. British Columbians struggling with ongoing pain will have more access to help and to hope because of a $1-million grant to Pain BC, Minister Terry Lake announced today. Pain BC is a partnership between patients, health-care providers and health-system decision-makers that supports pain management and treatment. It is the first organization of its kind in Canada and a leader in collaboration between patients and health professionals in managing chronic pain. The non-profit organization was established in 2008 to help patients and health-care providers with educational resources, peer support and tools to assess and manage pain. “Chronic pain is a condition that can be very difficult for patients to manage and for doctors to treat. That’s why the work of Pain BC is so important, and why the ministry is committing this $1 million to that work,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “I encourage people in chronic pain to talk to their family doctors, and to also connect with Pain BC.” The $1 million grant will support Pain BC’s various programs, including: • Online patient education sessions, which help patients learn self-management skills for their pain. Thousands of British Columbians have attended these sessions online, which Pain BC offers several times a month. Pain BC also offers a limited number of in-person education programs, which it hopes to expand in the future thanks to this grant. • Peer support, including an online peer support community with more than 4,000 members which offers patients a place to be heard and understood. The online support community also directs people to practical resources in their own communities. • Education for doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other health-care providers. Pain BC offers mentoring programs, workshops and an annual conference, as well as online access to pain assessment and management tools. “Pain BC has an amazing opportunity to change things for the one in five British Columbians with chronic pain,” said Dr. Michael Negraeff, a pain specialist at Vancouver General Hospital and co-founder and chair of the board of Pain BC. “This grant will help my patients access an expanded range of services to improve their quality of life and the effectiveness of my care.” “Chronic pain forced me to take early retirement from the job I loved. It made daily activities like exercise, cooking, and grocery shopping difficult or even agonizing,” said Ada Glustein, a chronic pain patient and volunteer with Pain BC. “This funding will bear directly on the welfare of pain patients. Expanding programs in educating health-care professionals and supporting system and practice change, perhaps the ability to do research, will create recognition, understanding, care and improved methods in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain patients like me.” The Ministry of Health, the Doctors of BC and Pain BC are also working together to target education for more than 500 doctors over the next two years through the Pain Management Practice Support Program, integrating the best practices in pain assessment and management into doctors’ daily work with patients. The Ministry of Health and Doctors of BC, through the General Practice Services Committee, Shared Care Committee and Specialist Services Committee, have invested a further $1,255,000 into this program, above and beyond the $1-million grant announced today. The program launches a new training session on April 30, which will give doctors tools to help identify, assess, manage, and better communicate with patients who have persistent pain.