IASP has launched the 2019 Global Year Against Pain in the Most Vulnerable, an international campaign by the pain community to boost awareness and education that results in better pain relief for four patient groups deemed especially high risk for inadequate pain assessment and treatment. These vulnerable groups are children and babies, older adults, people with intellectual and development disabilities, and survivors of torture and war.
Although those populations communicate pain differently, they share a concerning trait: the frequent inability to effectively articulate their pain condition to health care providers. This communication challenge often means clinicians and others struggle to provide an appropriate diagnosis, resulting in a lack of treatment, under medication, or overprescription. Fortunately, well-tested solutions exist, and vulnerable patients do not need to suffer since providers spread throughout the world have been working to resolve problems. Spreading the word of successful approaches through education, knowledge-sharing, and outreach is a primary goal of the Global Year campaign.
The Global Year also will focus on identifying barriers to proper assessment and management of pain in vulnerable groups; exploring their most common types of pain and best assessment and management tools, understanding educational needs of health professionals who deal with pain in vulnerable populations and targeting relevant areas for further research and development.
“IASP is well-positioned to unite and lead the diverse pain community in this year-long education and outreach campaign to generate hope and accelerate help,“ says IASP President Lars Arendt-Nielsen, whose passion to address the issue inspired him to create the theme. “Already we have partnerships with our 90-plus chapters, more than 20 special interest groups, and myriad external stakeholders such as nonprofits, patient health groups, and others in the government and medical communities that have influence and broad scope.“
Here are ideas for ways you can engage in the Global Year and help make a difference in millions of lives:
- Visit the Global Year website to read and download materials. The site helps clinicians and researchers learn more about pain management for each vulnerable population via 13 fact sheets; article collections from IASP’s publications, PAIN, and Pain Reports; and other resources.
- Register for the first of four free webinars. The kick-off webinar on pediatric pain will be held February 25 and will be archived for on-demand learning. Each quarterly webinar will discuss a vulnerable group, and registration is required.
- Engage in special activities with your chapter or IASP special interest group. Organize a symposium, write a chapter newsletter article, schedule a discussion at the next chapter meeting—these are all examples of important activities that advance the aims of the Global Year. IASP has four SIGs directly tied to the theme: Pain in Childhood; Pain in Older Persons; Pain Related to Torture, Organized Violence, and War; and Pain and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
- Register today for 2019 conferences organized by IASP SIGs and partners such as the 7th International Congress on Neuropathic Pain (NeuPSIG 2019) May 9-11 (use discount code NONEUR10), 4th World Congress on Abdominal and Pelvic Pain May 11-12, 12th International Symposium on Pediatric PainJune 16-20, and 11th Congress of the European Pain Federation, Pain in Europe XI September 4-7. All have workshops and events related to the vulnerable populations of the Global Year.
“Pain professionals from a wide range of specialities have united to accelerate the urgency and actions needed to help vulnerable populations receive adequate, accessible pain management,” says Global Year Co-chair Miriam Kunz, MPsych, of University of Bamberg, Germany. “We invite patient organizations, in particular, to join our efforts and magnify our voices, so these individuals can live productive healthier lives.”
“The population that we are working for is a silent majority,” adds UK-based Global Year Co-chair Patricia Schofield, PhD. “… The Global/European year is about raising the profile of these individuals and helping health care professionals and non-professional carers recognize the needs for this group to enable us all to work together more effectively.”