With September marking International Pain Awareness Month, the International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations (IAPO) is promoting pain management as a core part of patient-centred healthcare.
In line with Painaustralia and other peak health organisations, the IAPO says the burden of living with long-term pain should be considered a serious health problem in its own right. This would alleviate significant stigma felt by patients who are often unable to fully communicate their pain experience or who do not feel believed or validated by health professionals.
In its recently released policy on pain management the IAPO states there is a need to build alliances between organisations globally to increase understanding of what is often a invisible disease, develop policy positions and carry out effective advocacy activities.
Based on the principles of patient-centred healthcare, nations must focus on facilitating access to quality care – a fundamental right of every person – as well as adequate information and supports for people to take charge of their own health and implement effective treatment options. This is consistent with Australia’s National Pain Strategy and its focus on access to best-practice care and self-management of chronic pain.
The IAPO states other necessary elements of a patient-centred approach to effective pain management are health professionals who understand the issues faced by people living with chronic pain and who are able to encourage patient involvement in decision-making, as well as support groups that provide emotional support and a shared experience of living with pain.
The IAPO is calling for universal patient-centred care by 2030 and for decision-makers around the world to work in close collaboration with consumer organisations to build these key principles into national policy frameworks.
Painaustralia will be working to ensure a patient-centred approach is evident in pain policies within Australia.