Pain Association Scotland is a national charity who have been in operation for just over 33 years, we develop and deliver self-management training for those burdened with any form of chronic pain throughout Scotland. Our overall aim is to provide people suffering with chronic pain with the tools to help them improve their quality of life by supporting and empowering them to live independently in the community.
We do this by providing professional self-management training which extends to carers, family members and veterans. We address the non-medical issues associated with chronic pain and the nature of our interface between healthcare, family and community means that innovating new ways of working is a significant feature of our service. Over the years we have pioneered and developed a highly interactive learning and support model which is adaptable to the needs in the different geographical areas we serve throughout Scotland. Chronic pain requires significant help and time in both clinical and non-clinical settings. Our self-management model is a professionally led service, developed and delivered by staff who understand the issues and complex nature of living with chronic pain. Chronic pain has a high impact upon, physical, psychological and family health. Significant issues include: depression, long term stress, isolation, high levels of medication, poor mobility, lack of self-esteem and fatigue.
In our poster entry for the VHS Annual Conference, we looked at a recent evaluation we did of all those people who accessed our service on-line during the COVID-19 pandemic. Usually the Association deliver the self-management groups face-to-face within the community.
However, this had to change quickly when the pandemic struck and we did this within two days. We were delighted that not only did we not have to close our doors, but that we experienced a significant increase in demand, particularly when 11 out of 14 Health Board chronic pain services had to cease appointments as staff were re-deployed.
The results of this evaluation has provided some very useful insight into understanding the value people gain from attending the monthly group meetings and has helped inform our decisions for future service delivery.
Professor Sonia Cottam is the Director of Pain Association Scotland