Prevention Project - Community Based Pain Programs
Hospital-based multidisciplinary specialist pain services for people with chronic pain have been shown to reduce medication use and improve mental health and quality of life.
However, there is an increasing demand for services and long waiting times compounded by limited reach to regional and remote areas. The National Pain Strategy, Australia’s first national framework for pain (2010) and more recently, the National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management (2021) both call for greater involvement of primary care and more community-based pain programs.
Primary Health Networks (PHNs) are delivering community-based pain programs across Australia. These programs help consumers to better understand their pain condition; equip them with the tools to self-manage their pain; and improve their quality of life through group-based education and individualised support. These programs are comparable to programs delivered in hospitals, which often have long wait lists.
To support PHNs to commission community-based pain programs, researchers from the Menzies Centre for Health Policy and Economics, through a project supported by The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre, established expert-agreed key elements and implementation enablers of community-based pain programs using an eDelphi consensus process. The researchers also surveyed PHNs who were currently commissioning consumer pain programs to gain an in-depth description of their programs.
Painaustralia collaborated with the Menzies Centre for Health Policy and Economics, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney; the Australian Prevention Partnership Centre and the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation to produce a consumer resource on pain programs available in PHNs around the country. The fact sheet is available here.