A new dedicated pain management centre will tackle the hidden issue of chronic pain head-on, with the opening of the ACT Pain Centre in Deakin on Thursday.
What is being called Australia’s most comprehensive pain management resource, the centre will help people suffering chronic, paediatric and cancer pain.
Founder of the ACT Pain Centre Dr Romil Jain said the centre is the only one in the region to provide comprehensive services for cancer pain.
Opened by Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith, Dr Jain said pain is one of Australia’s biggest health issues but doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
“Pain is such a hush-hush issue, but we want to bring it out into the open and say to sufferers ‘you don’t have to live like this, and help is available to empower you to manage your pain in a better way,’” Dr Jain said.
The clinic co-locates a range of health professionals relevant to pain management including pain specialists, palliative care specialist, psychiatrists (including an addiction psychiatrist), psychologists, occupational therapists, exercise physiologist, physiotherapists and dietician to create a one-stop-shop for chronic pain sufferers, taking a holistic approach to chronic pain management.
Dr Jain, also the Director of the Pain Management Unit at The Canberra Hospital, said one-in-five Australians suffers from chronic pain and this number increases to one-in-three in our elderly population. That equates to more than 3.24 million people living with chronic pain, costing the economy around $73.2 billion a year.
“It’s very difficult for us to imagine the life of a chronic pain patient,” Dr Jain said.
“Many of these patients end up losing their work and personal relationships, not to mention the marked effect of this on their mood, sleep, function and quality of life.
“These people often lose any hope and become forgotten members of our society. It’s not uncommon for them to go into a downward spiral of high-dose medications, alcohol and illicit substance use out of despair and the faint hope of taking the edge off their pain.”
Opioids account for around three deaths per day according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
“We are in the midst of an opioid epidemic, resulting in the untimely deaths of many of our fellow beings. It has surpassed road fatalities in the younger population,” Dr Jain said.
He said the centre will not discriminate between people on public or private health care because “pain doesn’t discriminate between rich and poor, men or women”.
“My goal is to deliver pain intervention for everyone who needs it, and to decrease the waiting period for treatment for both public and private patients.”
The first ACT Pain Centre opened at the Calvary Clinic in September 2018. It has treated about 60 patients per week, totalling more than 2500 patient presentations.
This facility and the increased demand on the southside led to the development of the second, larger facility in Deakin, with 10 consulting suites, a gym, seminar room and physiotherapy facilities.
Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said managing and living with chronic pain could have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, and caused great distress for many people in our community.
“The ACT Pain Centre will be a great asset to Canberra’s south, providing treatment and support to chronic pain sufferers.
“I congratulate Dr Jain and his local team of specialists, doctors, nurses and pharmacists on the opening of the new Centre and the commitment they have shown in providing high-quality care to their patients,” said Ms Stephen-Smith.
For more information, visit ACT Pain Centre. The new ACT Pain Centre is located at Suite 1, 39 Geils Court, Deakin (operating Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 pm).