Currently in Australia approximately 3.2 million adults are living with persistent pain, with this number projected to increase to 5 million people by 2050 (MBF Foundation, 2007). This equates to one in five Australians, including adolescents and children. Almost one in five GP consultations involves a patient with persistent pain. (Blyth, 2001) (Sydney University, 2010).
Rates of depression are 20 percent higher among people with persistent pain compared to the rest of the population; and up to one in five suicides in Australia are related to physical health problems. (DoHA, 2006) (ABS, 2011). As a result, persistent pain costs Australia approximately $34.3 billion per annum.
Panorama Health Network’s Self Training Educative Pain Sessions (STEPS) program is an outcomes-based, multidisciplinary model aiming to improve the quality of healthcare delivered to patients with long term persistent pain. Participants attend a series of group education sessions over two days, which provides them with up to date, evidence-based education and expert advice regarding effective management strategies for persistent pain.
This includes, but is not limited to:
· Movement, exercise and pacing everyday activities
· Relaxation response/mindfulness and coping strategies
· Communicating effectively with health providers
· Efficient navigation of the health care system.
Each session is run by a multidisciplinary pain team, including a clinical psychologist, physiotherapist and a pain specialist. Four weeks following group education sessions clients meet one on one with each practitioner to devise an individually tailored Pain Management Plan. This plan is forwarded to the patient’s GP/referrer for implementation in the primary care setting.
Panorama Health Network STEPS participants have recorded statistically significant improvements in depression, level of perceived control of pain, improved perception of pain, improved ability to cope with pain, increased social functioning, improved perception of general health and reduced fear of movement.