From ‘patient to person’
My story is very typical of that of a pain patient. I was, like many pain patients looking for that magic bullet to take away the pain. Managing my pain was like playing a game of snakes and ladders – a game of luck. Most days melted into the next and I have a very poor pain self manager. I did not exercise or generally look after my body and I expected the doctor to fix me.
My Turning Point!
In July 1996 I attended the INPUT Pain Management Programme (PMP) London. It was described to me as a programme that could help me to increase my confidence and mobility and provide me with the pain toolkit of skills to self-manage my pain. I thought this was finally something that could help me move from ‘patient to person’. I have been back in full time work since 2000 and to date I have never had a day off sick.
How does successful pain self-management work?
The simple answer is teamwork between the health care professional and patient. Patients with pain are tricky to people to help, they lack confidence and may not want to take responsibility for their pain and rely on the health care professional to ‘fix’ them. This is unrealistic thinking and the patient needs to be more involved in their recovery and management of their pain from day one. I believe strongly in this and why I wrote the Pain Toolkit.
In 2006 I started to write simple patient booklet called the Pain Toolkit which has been supported by the Department of Health and now used extensively in the UK, and also in Europe, Australia, New Zealand Canada. They have been translated into German, French and Italian. Also in Spanish and Dutch in 2012. Health care professionals told us they needed more skills to support patients to self-manage so we developed a simple one-day workshop for them. We also developed a half-day patient workshop to active and interest patients in pain management.
The question I would like to ask you is, how will support your patients to self-manage their pain? Perhaps, you could start by showing them the Pain Toolkit, ask them to circle three tools they would like help with, and then work with them to succeed.
Tell me how you get on.