Pain is defined as ‘an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience’ (IASP, 1979). Chronic pain is a condition of long-term pain that persists beyond the normal expected healing period of 3-6 months after an injury or onset. The gold standard for managing chronic pain is a multidisciplinary approach. Psychology plays a central role in helping people cope and manage better, and the evidence base strongly supports psychologically-based interventions as effective treatments.
St. Vincent’s University Hospital offers a range of specialist pain management services for people with chronic pain. It has a dedicated multidisciplinary pain team made up of Pain Medicine Consultants, a specialist Senior Clinical Psychologist, Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist, and administration. Patients are seen on an individual basis and in a group. Research and Audit are a core activity for the service.
One of the core out-patient services provided is a 3-week group intervention called a Pain Management Programme (PMP). The PMP is psychologically-based rehabilitation utilising a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy approach (CBT). Our CBT Pain Management Programme has been developed over many years according to international best practice and is continually updated to incorporate new psychological approaches such as Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), Compassion-focussed therapy (CFT) and Mindfulness Meditation. The aim is to help people better manage their pain.
There are comprehensive multidisciplinary and psychological pain assessments, follow-up reviews and programme evaluations. People can expect to have a clinical interview and often fill out some questionnaires.
A range of specialist pain services & support for patients and their families with chronic pain are available including the following pain-care pathways: Inpatient & outpatient consultations; Advice in regard to pain procedures & surgical neuromodulation devises (for instance, Spinal Cord Stimulators); Multidisciplinary assessment & review clinics; Psychosocial support & psycho-education for patients & families (where appropriate); Individual Psychological therapy/ counselling (where appropriate); Psychologically-based rehabilitation groups, for instance, Intensive and Booster Cognitive-Behavioural Pain Management Programme groups; Modified (individually tailored based on need)/ Brief Pain Management Programmes; Self-management courses (cancer pain & chronic diseases).
How to access the service:
Referral to the Psychology Service in Pain Medicine is facilitated through a referral to a Pain Consultant in the Department of Pain Medicine at St. Vincent’s University Hospital.