National advocacy body Painaustralia is calling for pain treatment in aged care to be overhauled including the adequate funding of pain assessments.
It is estimated up to 80 per cent of aged care residents have chronic pain, according to Painaustalia, which advocates for improved understanding and treatment of acute, chronic and cancer pain.
Painaustralia CEO Carol Bennett said the Aged Care Funding Instrument did not provide adequate funding for pain assessments or support of appropriate person-centred care plans.
She said reform was urgently needed.
“Our residential aged care facilities are falling short of managing chronic pain and current federal funding provision does not support evidence-based best-practice care,” Ms Bennett said.
Highlighting the issues as part of National Pain Week, the peak said inappropriate practices in aged care facilities were leaving as many as one in two residents undertreated for chronic pain.
It said pain was also going unacknowledged or treated because dementia and cognitive impairment left some residents unable to communicate their pain while a lack of staff training on assessment of pain in people with dementia reduced the capacity for appropriate detection.
Untreated pain impacts the resident and their families and places a greater burden of care for staff, Ms Bennett said.
“We need aged care staff that are appropriately trained in pain assessment and management. We need reporting practices that include pain and we need appropriate multidisciplinary care.”
While chronic pain is difficult to treat, evidence shows that multidisciplinary pain management is the most effective approach for minimising the impact of pain and improving function and quality of life regardless of age of cognitive ability, she said.
Ms Bennett called for the current government funding provisions to be reformed to ensure people with pain could get appropriate care.
National Pain Week 2017 runs 24-30 July
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