B.C. announces funding to help address chronic pain problem

Massage Therapy Canada staff
July 21, 2016
By Massage Therapy Canada staff
B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake
B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake
The provincial government in British Columbia is taking steps to address the issue of chronic pain with the recent $50,000 funding to Pain BC announced by Health Minister Terry Lake.

The funding will help support the organization's second pain summit and help develop a pain management and opioid harm reduction strategy. The summit will create a space for sharing best practices for treating chronic pain and moving towards solutions.

"Chronic pain is an often invisible challenge for the one in five British Columbians who live with it every day," Lake said. "Pain BC has been making great strides in supporting patients and their families. This funding will assist with their efforts to share and gain knowledge in this emerging facet of patient care and help ensure more supports for British Columbians living with chronic pain."

The first pain summit was held in June 2011 and planning for the second summit is underway. It is expected to take place in early 2017. The goals of the two-day event are to encourage dialogue, identify and prioritize issues and challenges, determine potential solutions and map out a path for action. It will bring together patients, researchers, policy makers, health-care providers and various other stakeholders who will meet to build on the last summit and move pain management forward in B.C., according to a statement from the Ministry of Health.

"The first Provincial Pain Summit identified a lot of priority issues and we've made progress on those: educating health-care providers on how to assess and manage pain, creating more options to support people with managing their own pain, and working with health authorities to expand access to pain programs," said Maria Hudspith, executive director of Pain BC. "There is still a lot of work to do and this summit will bring stakeholders together to identify and address the challenges that still exist for optimal pain management in B.C. We're grateful for the ministry's partnership in hosting the summit."

Pain BC is a non-profit organization made up of people in pain, health-care providers, and leaders from universities, government, business and the non-profit sector. The organization's aim is to improve the lives of people living with pain through education, empowerment and innovation.

Through additional funding provided by the ministry, Pain BC has been able to offer a number of services for patients and health-care providers, including the newly launched Live Plan Be website. This online tool was developed in partnership with patients and health-care providers. It is based on self-management best practices, with an easy-to-use design and the research of leading international pain experts. It includes: tips to creating a personal pain action plan; news and research that will help patients better understand and manage their condition; and discussion forums that offer a safe and private space for patients to share their stories and ask questions to those who have been there and understand.

The ministry has also supported Pain BC's Connect for Health Program, which provides one-to-one support for patients who need connection to resources and help with practical challenges, like finding affordable housing or filling out forms.

Continued investment in research and development in the new field of chronic pain management supports the ministry's direction of providing patient-centred care. Offering self-management services to patients also supports the ministry's Primary Care Home model. It will also help patients in rural and remote areas as these services can be accessed online. Through gaining a deeper understanding and facilitating progress in the area, targeted care and supports can help patients in the short and long term, the ministry said.

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