For consumers living with persistent pain in the Cairns Hinterland and Cassowary Coast, travelling along the long, winding road down the mountains makes accessing specialist care difficult and at times prohibitive. Identifying a gap in services for this patient cohort, the Fast Track Pain Management outreach service was born!
A partnership between Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service and the Queensland Persistent Pain Management Clinical Network, the recently wrapped pilot program took a multidisciplinary team of professions specialising in pain management to educate and power the communities.
Project Lead and Network Coordinator Jay Whittem said the power of the program came from having all the professions in the room at the same time to take a holistic approach to each persons’ care.
“We were able to collaborate both across professions but with the patients to build pain management strategies that worked for them,” Mr Whittem said.
“From the perspective of physio, building on their understanding of the psychology and pharmacological influences on the physicality of their pain, not only helped alleviate fear but also made them feel supported to push outside of their comfort zone in their treatment.”
In addition to the patient education sessions, the team worked in tandem with the primary care sector to enhance continuity of care and increase capability within the local areas.
“We worked closely with the local GPs to make sure that the work we did with consumers was in tandem with their current care,” Jay said.
“If the pharmacist felt that their medication needed changing, we could work with the primary care team to find the right solution for the patient based on their advice. On the flipside, where the GPs had often found their patients were resistant to physical therapies, having the team on hand helped them worked through the psychological barriers to accessing care.”
The success of the campaign saw a reduction in Emergency Department presentations by over 80 per cent within the patient cohort. But most importantly, it improved their quality of life.