Painaustralia was pleased to partner with our founding members, the Pain Management Research Institute, the Kolling Institute, University of Sydney and NSW Health for a forum that examined the how, when and why of opioid de-prescribing in Sydney in late November.
Current guidelines recommend deprescribing opioids for patients with chronic pain, however de-prescribing opioids in this population is challenging and a source of confusion for clinicians and patients alike.
This symposium brought together an impressive list of local and international experts who addressed the complex challenges and impact of de-prescribing opioid medications including:
Beth Darnell, PhD, Stanford University, USA,
Professor Paul Glare, Director, Pain Management Research Institute, The University of Sydney,
Professor Michael Nicholas, Director, Pain Education and Pain Management Programs, The University of Sydney and;
Dr Simon Holliday, GP and Addiction Medicine Physician, Rural and regional NSW (Taree) among others.
Some highlights included Associate Professor Beth Darnall from Stanford University and Assoc/Prof Joseph Frank from the University of Colorado who shared lessons on the unintended consequences that accompany opioid de-prescribing, as well as shedding more light on effective programs that have delivered better consumer outcomes in the USA.
Prof. Michael Nicholas, Director of PMRI emphasised the need for health professionals to fundamentally change their relationship with the chronic pain patient. He emphasised that practitioners need to recognise that they can’t ‘fix’ patients, instead they must focus on working collaboratively to find treatments that are relevant to them and that can help them self-manage their condition.
Painaustralia’s Director Dr Chris Hayes, Director, Hunter Integrated Pain Service, Hunter New England Health, discussed the National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management highlighting the importance of remembering opioids are a small part of the bigger pain management picture.
Dr Clare Ashton James, a psychologist addressed the emotional aspect of having difficult conversations around opioid tapering with consumers, and the impact that this can have on their entire perception and their decision making.
Our CEO, Carol Bennett highlighted the need for awareness and access to supports for people living with chronic pain, an important missing piece of the equation that is crucial to balancing the current focus on opioid regulation and restrictions. Carol also highlighted the National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management as an important step in recognising the people behind the statistics who need care and support as they manage chronic pain.