Pain BC. Changing Pain. Changing Minds.
November 2018 Update
From our Executive Director, Maria Hudspith 
In May 2018 the BC government announced the launch of their new primary health care strategy. The strategy aims to provide British Columbians with improved patient-centred, team-based care and to target the unmet needs for many people living with complex health conditions such as chronic pain.
This new strategy is comprised of primary care networks, urgent primary care centres and community health centres.
Primary care networks will bring together publicly-funded health care providers like pharmacists, social workers, physiotherapists and others with family doctors. The first networks are currently being set up in Burnaby, Comox, Prince George, Richmond and South Okanagan Similkameen, with plans to expand across 70% of BC’s communities over the next 3 years.
Urgent primary care centres will focus on providing health services to patients who currently do not have a family doctor or nurse practitioner, including vulnerable populations such as the elderly and people needing care for mental health or substance-use issues. Doctors, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and other health care professionals will work collaboratively in team-based settings.
Primary care centres will be open on weekends and after-hours to take the pressure off hospital emergency departments. A total of 10 centres will be opened over the next 12 months, with the first opening in Surrey.
Community health centres will also play a role in meeting the needs of communities and will largely focus on improving access to preventative care, health promotion and other services.
So, what does this mean for people living with chronic pain?
The implementation of this primary health care strategy will benefit people living with pain. About 18% of British Columbians don’t have a family doctor – this, in and of itself, is a barrier to appropriate assessment and treatment of pain. Urgent primary care centres will be instrumental for these individuals as they will soon be able to seek treatment and care from a team of doctors and nurse practitioners. Pharmacists will also be on site to help people living with pain manage medication-related problems.
In addition, many people living with pain need a team-based approach but can’t afford physical therapy or psychological supports. Primary care networks will mean that some of those services will be provided as part of the publicly funded health care system and communication between these health care providers and family doctors will be improved.
Research shows that chronic pain can be well managed by primary care teams if they are appropriately supported. I’m hopeful that BC’s new strategy will mean positive outcomes for people with pain and the health care providers that care for them.
Live Plan Be  Connect for Health
National Pain Awareness Week 
November 4-10, 2018
Chronic pain impacts the lives of 1 in 5 Canadians. During National Pain Awareness Week (NPAW), pain organizations host various events and activities to raise awareness and understanding of the impacts of chronic pain in Canada.
As part of NPAW 2018, Pain BC led a #LivingWithPain social media awareness campaign to highlight the many experiences of people living with persistent pain. People who live with chronic pain, caregivers, and health organizations were all encouraged to participate by using the campaign hashtag. We also featured daily stories from people living with pain on our blog.
To find out more about the #LivingWithPain campaign:
  1. Read and share the featured stories of people living with pain on the Pain BC blog.
  2. Follow the conversation by searching for the #LivingWithPain hashtag on Facebook and Twitter. 
You can also find out more about the work of other organizations during NPAW 2018 at this link.
Cannabis resources for people in pain 
With recreational cannabis now legalized in Canada, it’s likely that more people in pain will consider it for pain relief. If you're considering using medical cannabis to manage your pain, the following resources may be useful.
Pain Foundations launching January 2019 
Online chronic pain course for health care professionals
Pain Foundations is an online course designed for health care professionals of all disciplines to address the challenges faced when assessing and treating people living with chronic pain. 
Course launch date: January 2019
Cost: Free for health care providers in BC. Pricing structure pending for other geographical locations.
Registration: Pre-registration for Pain Foundations is full, but those interested are encouraged to sign up for the waitlist. Signing up for the waitlist does not commit you to purchasing the course.
Please share this opportunity with any health care professional who would benefit from taking the Pain Foundations course.
Neil Squire Society: Technology@Work Program 
Neil Squire Society logoThe Neil Squire Society's Technology@Work program provides people with disabilities access to assistive technologies needed for employment, often at no cost to the individual. 
People with disabilities may qualify for for this program if they:
  • Would benefit from technology to overcome a barrier to employment or volunteerism
  • Are legally entitled to work in BC
  • Are employed, self-employed or volunteering
  • Experience a barrier in the workplace or when travelling from/to the workplace, one which can be addressed with technology
Anyone who meets the above qualifications or wishes to create a more accessible workplace environment is encouraged to fill out this application form
UBC Pain Medicine Residency Program: New program director 
The UBC Pain Medicine Residency Program recently announced their new Program Director, Dr. Michael Butterfield. The program Founder, Dr. Brenda Lau, shared the announcement with the following message:
"It is my great pleasure to announce on behalf of the selections committee that effective December 1, 2018, Dr. Mike Butterfield will take over as our next UBC Pain Medicine Residency Program Director. During his term, he will see this program through its first external review in 2020. 
As a background, Dr. Butterfield completed a BSc. and MSc. degree in Neuroscience and then completed his Medical Degree at the University of British Columbia. He then moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia to complete his specialty training in psychiatry. His interest in pain medicine was fostered through mentorship by Dr. Mary Lynch at Dalhousie University. He returned to Vancouver to be the inaugural resident of the Pain Medicine subspecialty training program at the University of British Columbia in July 2016 and ultimately graduated in June 2018..."
New survey from Health Canada on strengthening Canada's response to substance use  
Survey available until December 4, 2018
A new survey from Health Canada is seeking feedback from the public on how to better address problematic substance use in Canada from a health perspective. The survey includes a specific piece on the needs of people in pain. The survey will remain open until December 4, 2018.
Study invitation: Immersive Multimedia Experiences for Cancer Patients with Chronic Pain 
The UBC School of Nursing and SFU School of Interactive Arts + Technology are recruiting people living with cancer to test the use of an immersive multimedia experience to help manage their chronic pain. More information about this study can be found here. Those who are interested in participating are encouraged to contact Crystal Sun, Project Manager at
Upcoming Pain BC and partner events 
2019 workshops now open for registration
Pain BC Webinar | The Cannabis Question: Culture to Science
Clinical pharmacist Terri Betts will speak to many of the questions providers have about prescribing cannabis for chronic pain.
Nov 14, 2018 12-1pm PST: Register now 
Chronic Pain Management for Occupational Therapists 
A workshop for occupational therapists interested in learning about the neurophysiology of pain and how it relates to OT intervention.
Jan 11-12, 2019 - Vancouver: Register now (register before Dec 21, 2018 for the early-bird price)
Chronic Pain Management for Registered Massage Therapists
This workshop provides RMTs with an opportunity to learn how modifications of traditional massage therapy practices can increase success and improve outcomes for people in pain.
Mar 24, 2019 in Vancouver: Register now
Sep 29, 2019 in Kelowna: Register now
Nov 3, 2019 in Vancouver: Register now
Nov 24, 2019 in Victoria: Register now
Workshop | Chronic Pain Management for Chiropractors
This workshop is for chiropractors or students of chiropractic interested in developing or enhancing their clinical skills in the assessment and treatment of people living with complex and chronic pain.
Feb 2-3, 2019 - Victoria: Register now (register before Jan 7, 2019 for the early-bird price)
Sep 28-29, 2019 - Vancouver: ´╗┐Register now
Pain BC programs and initiatives are funded, in whole or in part, by the Government of British Columbia.
In the News
In the News 
The International Association for the Study of Pain discusses their new Global Patient Alliance, whose goal is to integrate the patient voice to better inform pain research, services and treatments.
A new program will aim to help BC pharmacists provide improved care to people with opioid use disorders through increased education and discussing ways to reduce the stigma for those receiving treatment.
The following article describes how the sexual health needs of women with disabilities can often be under-prioritized or left unaddressed by their health care providers.
A BC Coroners Service investigation into overdose deaths in 2016-2017 suggests that the 77% of the deceased regularly used illicit drugs and nearly 50% had sought out care for pain related issues.
A person with chronic pain shares 8 common misconceptions they encounter as a result of living with a chronic illness.

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