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Anna

Anna Hilyard

Year of Award: 2017 Award State: Western Australia Health And Medicine > Rehabilitation And Pain Management
To develop an internet treatment program for children with persistent pain in regional Australia - Sweden, UK, Canada, USA
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In Australia there are approximately 300,000 children who have severe persistent pain causing physical disability, emotional distress, and poor school attendance. Untreated persistent pain can have a significant impact on the child’s life trajectory, affecting their physical and mental health into adult life.

In addition to the suffering of the children concerned, the burden on their families and the community as a whole is considerable, with per­sistent pain being Australia’s third most costly health condition behind musculoskeletal and cardiovascular disease.

Analgesic medication is ineffective for this condition and specialised interdisciplinary treatment is required. Currently access to treatment is limited by geographical barriers, funding and scarce clinical expertise. Experts recommend that tertiary pain services provide online pain pro­grams to increase access to treatment, but these programs do not exist for children in Australia.

This Churchill Fellowship has enabled insights into international develop­ments in this area that can be used to inform the creation of internet per­sistent pain programs in Australia. The development of a multipurpose digital resource to provide support for varying intensities of treatment is proposed. This will be developed with the involvement of consumers, clinicians and other key stakeholders. It will undergo rigorous evaluation of both effectiveness and economic benefit, and will be designed with the capacity to be adapted to other medical conditions. The report also comments more broadly on the use of digital technology to support this patient group.

It is hoped that these findings can help to promote equity of access to healthcare for children in remote and regional areas.

Keywords: Children, adolescent, persistent pain, chronic pain, pain management, regional, rural and remote, digital health, triage, stepped care, internet

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