CANADIAN PAIN SUMMIT MISSION:
Working together to improve the treatment of pain for all Canadians.
REPORTS & BRIEFS
Liberal Health Critic Supports a National Pain Strategy
To read Federal Liberal health critic Dr. Hedy Fry's message to the National Pain Strategy
Letter to the Editor - The Ottawa Citizen
A Perfect Storm is Brewing
Sharon Kirkey’s article “Oxycontin’s removal could cause a whole new set of problems” published yesterday, underlines the dynamics that are leading inevitably to a perfect storm. On the one hand, we have an ongoing problem with drug addiction and on the other hand, we have a problem with massive ignorance about the appropriate treatment of pain.
Kirkey quotes experts who have indicated restricting access is not going to put a dent in the problem of abuse and addicts will simply switch to something else. It is also pointed out that Doctors are not being taught enough about prescribing opioids in the proper places.
This is true, for people doctors that is. Veterinarians get five times more training in pain management than people doctors. Canadians are not receiving adequate access to treatment for acute, chronic (including arthritis) or cancer pain and this is leading to a growing epidemic.
It is time to support a national strategy for pain. For further information, go to: www.canadianpainsummit2012.ca.
Dr. Mary Lynch, Co-Chair
Canadian Pain Summit
Canadian Pain Society
Pain in Canada Fact Sheet
Presented by the Canadian Pain Society (CPS) and the Canadian Pain Coaltion (CPC)
Pain is poorly managed in Canada
- Although we have the knowledge and technology, Canadians are left in pain after surgery, even in our top hospitals.
- Only 30% of ordered medication is given, 50% of patients are left in moderate to severe pain after surgery and the situation is not improving (Watt‐Watson, Stevens et al. 2004; Watt‐Watson, Choiniere et al. 2010).
- Growing evidence has identified that many common surgical procedures cause persistent post‐operative pain that becomes chronic (Kehlet, Jensen et al. 2006).
- Pain is the most common reason for seeking health care and as a presenting complaint accounts for up to 78% of visits to the emergency department, recent research continues to document high pain intensity and suboptimal pain management in a large multicenter emergency department network in Canada and the United States (Todd, Ducharme et al. 2007).
- Uncontrolled pain compromises immune function, promotes tumor growth and compromises healing with increased morbidity and mortality following surgery (Liebeskind 1991).
- One in five Canadian adults suffer from chronic pain (Moulin, Clark et al. 2002; Schopflocher, Jovey et al. 2011) children are not spared with 15‐30% of children experiencing recurring or chronic pain (Stanford, Chambers et al. 2008) and the prevalence increases with age (Hadjistavropoulos, Gibson et al. 2010).
- Many cancer and HIV survivors have greater quantity of life but unfortunately a poor quality of life due to chronic pain conditions caused by the disease or the treatments that cause irreversible damage to nerves (Levy, Chwistek et al. 2008; Phillips, Cherry et al. 2010).
- Chronic pain is associated with the worst quality of life as compared with other chronic diseases such as chronic lung or heart disease (Choiniere, Dion et al. 2010).
- Based on US figures documenting that the cost of chronic pain in adults including health care expenses and lost productivity is $560‐$630 Billion annually it is estimated that the annual cost of chronic pain in Canada is at least $56‐60 Billion dollars (Relieving Pain in America - 2011).
- People living with pain have double the risk of suicide as compared with people without chronic pain (Tang and Crane 2006).
- A recent review of opioid (narcotic) related deaths in Ontario, identified the tragic fact that pain medication related deaths in Ontario are increasing and that most of the people who died had been seen by a physician within 9‐11 days prior to death (emergency room visits and office visits respectively) and the final encounter with the physician involved a mental health or pain related diagnosis. In almost a quarter of the cases the coroner had determined that the manner of death was suicide (Dhalla, Mamdani et al. 2009).
- Veterinarian students receive three times more pain education than human health professionals and five times more hours than medical students (Watt-Watson, McGillion et al. 2009).
- Pain research is grossly under‐funded in Canada (Lynch, Schopflocher et al. 2009).
BC Pain Summit - an amazing success!
Pain BC hosted the Provincial Pain Summit, June 2 to 4, 2011 - the first event of its kind in the province. The Summit was an amazing success, attracting a mix of health care providers, administrators, patients and their families, researchers, as well as members of the non-profit and corporate sectors. Several media outlets covered the event, raising awareness of chronic pain, sharing the stories of patients and providers, and highlighting some of the initiatives underway to reduce the burden of pain in British Columbia.
The Summit’s dialogue-based format was welcomed by all, providing rich opportunities for expertise to be shared, barriers to be identified, and recommendations for change to be generated. A summary of the Summit and presentations from all sessions are now posted on the Pain BC website.
The Summit Final Report outlines Pain BC’s future directions and they are already working on implementation plans for several of the recommendations. Progress will be reported in future newsletters Pain BC newsletters.
Sincere congratulations are extended to Pain BC from the Canadian Pain Summit 2012 Executive Committee. We look forward to working with you and others across the country to improve the treatment of pain for all Canadians!
by Dr. Mary E Lynch, MD FRCP, Past President - Canadian Pain Society
Excerpt from Pain Research & Management - March/April 2011 - Volume 16, Issue 12
The Need for a Canadian Pain Strategy
Pain is poorly managed in Canada. This includes acute pain caused by ongoing tissue damage, trauma or surgery, chronic pain and pain related to illness. Reasons for this include under-recognition of the problem, lack of education in pain assessment and treatment in graduating health care professionals, and gr0ssly inadequate funding for research regarding pain. Although we have the knowledge and technology, Canadians cannot be sure they will receive adequate or appropriate treatment for pain along the entire continuum of care from community health professionals to specialists in tertiary health care institutions
CLICK ON the title to obtain a copy of this important Brief submitted to the Federal Government - October 19, 2010
Dr. Mary Lynch, Past President of the Canadian Pain Society (CPS) and Co-Chair of the Canadian Pain Summit 2012, along with Lynn Cooper, President of the Canadian Pain Coalition (CPC), made presentations last fall to the Federal Standing Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care. The tri-party Committee Co-Chairs are: Harold Albrecht, MP for Kitchener-Conestoga; Michelle Simson, MP for Scarborough Southwest; and Joe Comartin, MP for Windsor-Tecumseh.
"People in pain have a right to fully adequate pain relief treatment. Indeed, for the healthcare professional to act unreasonably in leaving a person in pain is a breach of a fundamental human right of the person. Physicians should not fear that giving adequate pain relief treatment is unethical or illegal; in fact, they should fear the ethical and legal consequences of not doing so."
Dr. Margaret Somerville, Director of the McGill Centre for Medicine Ethics and Law; Samuel Gale Professor of Law
Excerpt from Dr. Somerville's submission: The Case Against Including Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide as Part of Palliative and Compassionate Care. Presented to the Standing Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care, Montreal, QC - July 20, 2010