MEDIA RELEASE #SeePainMoreClearly Campaign
For Release - October 1st, 2020 - International Day for Older Persons
ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE CENTRE ON AGING & HEALTH
UNIVERSITY OF REGINA
A heartbreaking situation occurs in long term care for residents with advanced dementia, like Alzheimer’s disease, who are unable to tell us they have pain. Persistent pain can go untreated. Now, more than ever, we must do better!
Funded by the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation and the Saskatchewan Centre of Patient-Oriented Research and in partnership with national and provincial organizations (e.g: AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence, Canadian Association of Gerontology, Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan), health care personnel, patients and family, researchers and health care administrators; we have launched an international social media campaign #SeePainMoreClearly to increase awareness of the underassessment and undermanagement of pain in dementia by disseminating evidence-based findings and practices.
The success and impact of our effort will be tracked systematically through questionnaires and other indicators such as video views, hashtag mentions, media stories, social reach, and other related information.
To ensure that people affected by dementia, their friends and families, caregivers and health professionals are familiar with the problem of pain undertreatment and its dire consequences for this population. We also want to familiarize health professionals and policymakers with cutting edge evidence-based solutions.
Although the current policy in most Canadian jurisdictions requires conducting long term care (LTC) pain assessments at a minimum every 3 months, this is not sufficient. Oftentimes, pain assessments rely heavily on subjective staff opinion rather than systematic observation of pain behaviours. Policies should be amended to increase pain assessment frequency (to at least once a week and more often when pain is suspected) and validity. In fact, research has demonstrated that pain assessment frequency, using validated tools, can increase with minimal impact on existing LTC resources.
We would very much appreciate your assistance to spread the awareness of this important issue as policy change is needed to improve pain care in LTC settings.
OUR INFLUENTIAL SUPPORTERS
“As Michael’s dementia progressed it became clear that my main role in life was to make sure he was safe and he was happy. But it also became clear, as his ability to communicate diminished and he could no longer speak, that I might be able to tell if there was something wrong, but I feared I would not know what it was. Was he hungry? Did he need something? And the worst fear, was he sick? Was he in pain? If so, where was it? What sort of pain? It was my nightmare.
The work being done by Dr. Hadjistavropoulos and his team is so very important in identifying pain in people with dement. And relieving suffering. They have my admiration, my gratitude. My full support.” - Louise Penny, Award-winning Canadian author.
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO CONTACT FOR INTERVIEW:
Contact: Thomas Hadjistavropoulos, Ph.D. - Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Regina; Research Chair in Aging and Health
YouTube: See Pain More Clearly
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