Guest Contribution: Sarah and Angela, co-founders of the Painspace App
Sarah and Angela are co-founders of the painspace app. They have both also been appointed as the consumer representatives on the Clinical Management Advisory Committee for the ePPOC (Electronic Persistent Pain Outcomes Collaboration).
We are Angela and Sarah, the co-founders of the painspace. We are also people living with chronic pain, who combined have 60 years’ experience of living with chronic pain.
We’ve created an App to help people in chronic pain. We want people living with chronic pain to know that they are not alone ... we’ve walked in their shoes and we’ve learned to cultivate a way of living that’s meaningful and has purpose, despite the difficult path of persistent pain.
The App sends 4 messages a week to connect, support and educate people, to help them build the resilience and self-efficacy needed to navigate life with ongoing pain.
Latest medical research shows that using technology to send regular messages to support people who are living with chronic pain or illness changes health related behaviour and improves outcomes.
The painspace believes that people can empower themselves, supported by connection with others, to make a life that is fulfilling even with pain. The content of the messages is based on 4 key pillars that align with a biopsychosocial model of care.
Connection – is vital to healing. Connecting with other pain sufferers. You’re not alone.
Support – Like a companion to encourage, and motivate with tips, tools and resources.
Guidance – and inspiration to help to navigate the inner realm of spirit that the human journey of suffering takes us on.
Education – knowledge is power. Bite-sized chunks of evidence-based medicine that are easy to absorb and integrate.
The importance of connection in the therapeutic alliance is clear. Connection is vital for us as humans, and it’s vital for healing. When a person in pain feels seen, validated and safe, hope is ignited, which helps them build inner resources, resilience and confidence to make positive changes. The painspace is harnessing smartphone and app technology to facilitate this connection. As the messages are created for the people by the people, authenticity and rapport are engendered, which encourages an openness to new possibilities and options.
New understandings in brain science, tell us that patients themselves play an integral part in their health outcomes - what they think, do and believe plays a vital role in their pain management and outcomes. This is very good news for people living with pain because it puts them back in the driver’s seat. Rather than passive recipients of treatment, they become active participants in their health and treatment options.
The painspace App has been trialled in three hospital pain clinic groups. Users found the messages a unique offering in the pain arena, which resonated in a way that helped them feel supported and empowered in their struggle with pain and their efforts in self-management.
The painspace is a resident company at iAccelerate, one of the leading start-up incubators and accelerators in Australia. iAccelerate is part of the University of Wollongong’s Innovation campus and is committed to helping social entrepreneurs deliver meaningful impact.
As people living with pain, and co-founders of the painspace, Angela and Sarah have been appointed to the board of ePPOC (Electronic Persistent Pain Outcomes Collaboration) in the role of Consumer Advocate. ePPOC is a federally funded project involving the collection of a standard set of data items and assessment tools by specialist pain services throughout Australia and New Zealand to measure outcomes for their patients as a result of treatment. This information is used to develop a national benchmarking system for the national pain sector, to lead to better outcomes and best practice interventions for chronic pain patients in Australia and New Zealand.
The painspace has been awarded a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Grant by Jobs NSW to build the App. MVP grants are designed to support promising start-ups with the funds needed to progress from a proof of concept stage to a minimum viable product to help them create innovative solutions that address compelling industry needs or market gaps.
Thank you to Painaustralia for support of social enterprise organisations such as the painspace, and for their leadership in the National arena helping to reduce the burden of persistent pain in Australia.