CODEINE CHANGE AN OPPORTUNITY TO ADDRESS THE PAIN CRISIS
An article by Painaustralia CEO Carol Bennett recently published in Partyline, the newsletter of the National Rural Health Alliance, explains how improved pain services in rural areas will be essential to effectively address Australia's pain crisis.
Ms Bennett writes: “With pharmaceutical opioids now firmly established as a go-to pain relief and consumers becoming reliant on the them, what do we do when access to these medications is restricted?… we cannot limit access to what has become standard pain mangement practice – despite its ineffectiveness – without providing alternatives. We need to move quickly to ensure better pain services and support for consumers, especially in rural and remote Australia where access to pain services, GPs, allied health care and pharmacists after-hours is already limited.”
Painaustralia’s Pre-Budget Submission recommends a mini-pain program model for adopton across rural and regional areas where access to pain specialists is limited. The model proposes a pain educator developing a mini-pain program in their community with possibilities for outreach, telecommunications and ongoing support. It would also involve building capacity in Primary Health Networks.
With appropriate services and support, people with chronic pain can become empowered to successfully self-manage their condition. Important for most chronic conditions, in the case of chronic pain, self-management is a significant factor in determining health outcomes.
Self-mangement involves taking ownership for one’s health and doing things on a daily basis to ensure pain levels do not spike, the body remains conditioned, and mental health and wellbeing remain in check. People who do this report less disability and improved quality of life than those who are engaged in passive therapies such as medication or surgery.
Paiaustralia CEO Carol Bennett says, “Ultimately the solution to managing pain effectively lies in teaching people how to self-manage their pain and supporting them to do this with a well-developed network of services and sensible rebates for allied health care, which is fundamental to an effective approach to pain management.”