In the Spotlight: Prevention and Early Intervention Working Group
The Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) is among the 10 working groups originally established from Pain BC's 2017 Provincial Pain Summit
. A main objective of the PEI working group is to identify opportunities and suggest initiatives to prevent acute pain from becoming chronic. Pain becomes chronic when it persists beyond the treatment of a disease or healing of an injury, typically longer than three months. In collaboration with the Sea to Sky Division of Family Practice
, Pain BC has recently launched an Acute Pain Advisor Pilot Project designed specifically to support people experiencing common sources of acute pain to reduce the likelihood of it becoming chronic.
Patients who experience physical trauma in the Sea to Sky region are often young, active, and enter the health care system through a variety of settings: emergency rooms, walk-in clinics, physiotherapist and chiropractors' offices. Many do not have family physicians. This pilot project provides an Acute Pain Advisor (APA) in the Sea-to-Sky region to support local patients who have recently experienced broken bones, acute lower back pain, or knee or shoulder repair surgery. The objective is of the APA is to support patients through early intervention with the goal of preventing their pain from becoming chronic.
The APA provides these patients with education on pain and self-management, along with information about health care services, programs and resources that may help their healing. The patients are referred to the APA through the Whistler Health Care Centre Fracture Clinic and local physicians and physiotherapists in the Sea to Sky region. Patients are initially contacted by the APA weekly, then reduced to bi-weekly and monthly contacts for 4 months. Patients who show early warning signs of developing chronic pain may be contacted more frequently for up to 6 months.
The APA pilot project launched on December 4th, with a goal of enrolling 40-50 patients with acute injuries to test the feasibility of providing an APA to help monitor their progress. If the pilot project is succesful, we'll look to scaling this model across communities in BC to support more people in their recovery from acute pain injuries.