More than one in four people in western Sydney live with chronic pain, an invisible struggle that can continue for months after an illness or injury.
Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) integrated and community health staff are launching a pilot program to help educate patients, staff and general practitioners (GPs) to help them manage chronic pain better.
There are 1500 patients already involved in the program who suffer from complex and chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart conditions – many of whom were unaware of the specific services or websites where they can seek treatment or information.
Registered nurse care facilitator Natasha Mausell said the program aims to help people understand the cause of their discomfort and overcome it without the use of unnecessary medications or hospitalisation.
“Our clinicians told us many chronic pain sufferers felt there was a lack of education, knowledge, resources and communication when managing their symptoms or to receive help,” Natasha said.
“We found that some patients were not taking their medications properly because of other lifestyle matters including transportation or financial issues.
“Our team of 26 specialised staff address each persons’ health issues as a whole, including their social and physical concerns, and give them realistic and achievable goals which take into consideration their age, illness and lifestyles.”
This week marks National Pain Week and Natalie wants to encourage people to take action by making it easier for everyone to seek information or assistance for ongoing pain.
Westmead Hospital has a designated pain management centre while Blacktown Hospital provides acute pain management to people, with plans to expand the clinic to treat chronic pain sufferers in the near future.
For further information about pain management, visit https://www.aci.health.nsw.gov.au/chronic-pain.