18 October 2010
New figures* show that the Trust's Centre of Pain Education (COPE) is significantly improving the way people who suffer from chronic pain are able to deal with their condition. And, on average, patients are reporting a 14% decrease in the amount of pain they suffered before and after using COPE's services.
The centre, which is based at Sutton Hospital, helps patients who live with severe chronic pain (such as arthritis, back problems and widespread pain in joints and muscles) to learn more about the causes of pain and how to deal with it on a day-to-day basis.
During an eight week course, patients work with a clinical psychologist, physiotherapist and specialist nurse to learn different coping strategies for dealing with pain and improving their quality of life. Techniques include how to use exercise and activity to manage pain and how to make the best use of medication. Patients are also taught different techniques to help them relax.
Other results from the centre's survey show that - on average -patients reported a 21% improvement in their confidence to manage everyday life and a 26% improvement in their physical function. In addition, their mood had improved by 11%.
The course has also helped patients to reduce the number of times they need to visit their GP for pain by 50% and the number of times they have to go A&E by a staggering 67%.
Encouragingly, the figures show that patients have maintained these improvements six months after the COPE course.
Dr Hilary Rankin, clinical psychologist at the centre said: "The whole aim of COPE is to help people regain control of their lives, and we are very proud to see that our work is resulting in such a marked improvement in our patients.
"When patients come to COPE they have usually been struggling with chronic pain for a long time. More often than not, they have tried many different types of painkillers and medical treatments, but have found that nothing can relieve their pain.
"Chronic pain can affect every part of your life, from work to daily activities, leisure interests, family and social life. Not surprisingly, most of our patients feel depressed by their situation and worried about the future. In fact, many people feel quite desperate by the time they see us.
"We are very pleased with these results, and we'll keep on working hard to help as many people as we possibly can."
* Data from 2,000 patients treated over the 16 year history of COPE shows percentage improvement in their mood, physical function, confidence and a reduction in pain.