The Chronic Pain Self Management Team (CPSMT) at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust launched the UK’s first Chronic Pain Awareness Day on 1st May 2019.
The CPSMT are a Multi-Disciplinary Team comprised of Physiotherapists, Clinical Psychologists, and a Clinical Nurse Specialist. We work with patients to support them to develop self-management skills in order to improve their quality of life in the context of a long term condition, for example through reducing distress, improving function and reducing medication use. Our audits show that our input often leads to a significant reduction in hospital visits and treatments, as well as an overall improvement in quality of life.
The CPSMT decided to organise an awareness day as chronic pain is not a well-known condition within the general public. It was felt that the awareness day would be a great way to educate other staff at St George’s Hospital as well as an opportunity to highlight the progress made by some past patients since attending a Pain Management Programme (PMP).
To celebrate the progress of PMP graduates and to mark national walking month the day began with a 1.8 mile walk from Tooting Bec Common to St George’s Hospital. Some of the patients who wanted to participate in the walk but felt the whole walk would be too much for them opted to meet us the halfway point allowing them to do a 1 mile walk. The past patients were then welcomed back to the hospital with a well-deserved tea and cake reception.
The walk was then followed by educational talks from the CPSMT as well as other teams aimed at staff members about pain self-management. The CPSMT spoke about developing self-management skills for living well with chronic pain. We also heard from three PMP graduates who spoke about their experiences of living with chronic pain and what changes they have made since attending a PMP with the CPSMT.
One attendee from the day said: ‘It has been enormously inspiring; the courage of ex-patients and the beauty of seeing the enormous difference that attending the program has made the kindness of all professional and participants and the sharing and sense of humanity and connection. So humbled and also greatly touched by the effort and care put into the beautiful cakes and other goodies’.
The Chronic Pain Awareness Day is an event that we are hoping to continue to run annually. We plan to open the invitation for our next Chronic Pain Awareness Day to other staff outside of the Trust who would be interested in hearing more about self-management and the experiences of those living with chronic pain. If you are interested in finding out more, please email the team on CPSMT@stgeorges.nhs.uk
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