Experts by Experience: Working together in pain management programmes

Nov 05, 2019, 09:00 AM

Patient volunteers and healthcare professionals on working together in pain management programmes

This edition has been supported by a grant from the Plum Trust.

In September, the British Pain Society’s special interest group on pain management programmes held their annual conference. A workshop entitled ‘Experts by Experience – working together in Pain Management Programmes’ was run in parallel to this. The symposium brought together patient-volunteers and healthcare professionals from four pain management centres around the UK to share their experience of working together. 

Dr Nick Ambler, Consultant Clinical Psychologist of the North Bristol NHS Trust’s Pain Management Programme (PMP), facilitated the workshop; chairing an uplifting, frank and empowering discussion on the psychological benefit to patients and the professional value to healthcare trusts of patient-volunteers working within pain management programmes. This special extended edition of Airing Pain comes to you live from the conference, letting you sit in on the discussion.  

Patient-volunteer Primrose Granville opens by giving a funny, relatable and inspiring testimony of how volunteering with her PMP has transformed and empowered her life and experience of pain. 

Dr Debbie Joy, Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead of Pain Services for NHS Solent Trust, addresses some of the initial anxieties she had around the introduction of patient-volunteers to a clinical setting, but ultimately asserts that they are ‘definitely stronger with experts by experience by their side’.

Pain coaches for NHS Dorset – Penny and Debbie – offer constructive advice for professionals and volunteers on how you pain coach and engage with people living with pain effectively and sympathetically. 

The founder of Glasgow Community Pain Education Sessions – John Bremner, talks about how this model of expert by experience in action works, and how they run it ethically and effectively. Lindsay talks about how rewarding an experience it has been, volunteering as a pain trainer for this initiative, encouraging others to get involved. 

The symposium ends with the group sharing their experiences and insights in an open floor discussion. 

Contact your GP or relevant pain management programme if you are interested in volunteering.

Contributors:

  • Dr Nick Ambler, Consultant Clinical Psychologist for the North Bristol NHS Trust’s Pain Management Programme
  • Primrose Granville, person living with pain and patient volunteer with the North Bristol NHS Trust Pain Management Programme
  • Dr Deborah Joy, Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead of Pain Services for the NHS Solent Trust
  • Penny and Debbie, pain coaches for the Dorset NHS Trust 
  • John Bremner, person living with pain, pain trainer and founder of Glasgow Community Pain Education Sessions   
  • Lindsay, person living with pain and pain trainer for Glasgow Community Pain Education Sessions
  • Dr Martin Dunbar, Clinical Lead and Consultant Psychologist for NHS Great Glasgow and Clyde.
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