Spotlight on: our Pain Management Service

Our Pain Management Service is a multi-disciplinary service, helping people living with long-term persistent pain.

The team care for around 2,700 new patients, 6,800 follow-up patients and 2,300 day-case patients each year.

The team is made of five doctors, six nurses, five psychologists, three physiotherapists, one occupational therapist, one psychology assistant, a housekeeper and a large admin team.

According to latest studies, between 30% and 50% of the adult population suffer with ongoing pain; for this reason, psychological and emotional support forms an important part of pain management.

“Our approach very rarely involves just pain killers and other medicines because they can only offer a short-term relief from pain,” said Katherine Dyer, Pain Management Centre Matron.

“Injections and implanted stimulators can help very small numbers of patients. There are many ways we can help patients manage their chronic pain – a bit like a jigsaw.

“Pain is completely individual to each patient and so are their problems managing that, that’s why we adopt a tailored programme that works for each person.”

Pain can impact all areas of somebody’s life, such as relationships, self-confidence, the ability to do activities that used to be important or make you more socially withdrawn.

“Our Clinical Psychologists can help patients build the skills they need to manage psychological difficulties, so they have less impact on people’s lives,” added Katherine.

“We try to understand the whole picture to find an effective way to modify the patients’ activity levels and help develop skills for coping with thoughts, feelings and behaviours associated with pain.

“We’re also very keen to involve patients in our education session that we run up to three times a week. Patients find it useful to talk to other people who live with pain: there’s evidence that those suffering with persistent pain greatly benefit from sharing their experiences.”

The inpatient side of the service is more fast moving. Predominantly nurse-led with Consultant support.

“We see all patients who had epidurals or are in pain after complicated operations until their pain is under control,” said Katherine.

“We also help the wards managing patients so that they don’t develop complications and make sure they don’t get readmitted. Timely discharges help with patient flow in the hospital. Sometimes we can be called to ED to prevent admission and our physiotherapists work in the acute wards – our tasks are very varied.”

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