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Power over pain

Memorial joins national partnership to support people living with chronic pain


By Kelly Foss

Memorial University is a partner in creating a first-in-Canada, virtual chronic pain management portal.

A man in a jacket in front of a row of windows
Dr. Joshua Rash, Faculty of Science, is a co-lead on the Power Over Pain portal.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

The partnership includes hospitals, academic institutions, community organizations and people who live with chronic pain.

Funded by Health Canada, the Power Over Pain portal offers free, evidenced-based virtual resources to help youth and adults manage their chronic pain.

It has many resources from self-directed courses to one-on-one counselling with the goal of providing flexible and rapid access to pain management tools.

‘Long-awaited’ resource

“Power Over Pain is a long-awaited and very important online resource for people living with pain and their families,” said Lynn Cooper, director, research and education, Canadian Injured Workers Alliance, and a person living with pain. “The portal provides us with information and resources about pain and pain management that can help us understand our pain, learn ways to help ourselves and access supports so that we can live our best life with pain.”

One in five Canadians lives with chronic pain and access to this type of care continues to be a challenge in Canada.

More than 50 per cent of people living with pain are referred to specialized programs with extended wait times. Access to care is further challenged when mental health and substance use health needs are present.

“The portal helps people who live with pain find . . . the right care, for the right person, delivered at the right time.” — Dr. Joshua Rash

Improving resources for chronic pain care is one of the top priorities identified by the Canadian Pain Task Force, a group that advises Health Canada on evidence and best practices for chronic pain management.

The portal offers a virtual continuum of evidence-supported resources for the management of pain that complements intensive services offered in the health-care system, says Dr. Joshua Rash, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science, and a co-lead on the portal.

“Moreover, the portal empowers people to track their progress over time and determine which resources are beneficial to them,” he said. “In essence, the portal helps people who live with pain find the resource that best addresses their immediate concerns during their time of need — basically, the right care, for the right person, delivered at the right time.”

One-stop shop

The portal is also being integrated with Bridge the Gapp and Wellness Together Canada, the Atlantic Canadian and federal platforms to support mental health and substance use concerns, respectively.

The goal is to create a one-stop shop for mental health, substance use and chronic pain resources.

The Power Over Pain Portal was developed in collaboration with clinicians and researchers from the Ottawa Hospital, the SickKids, Women’s College Hospital, the University of Calgary, Memorial University of Newfoundland, people living with pain and community organizations.

The portal is live and will continue to develop and evolve based on user feedback and new research.

Funded by Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program. The views expressed may not represent those of Health Canada.

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