Anatomy of the Pain Centre waiting list at the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM)
Grisell Vargas-Schaffer,1,2 Ann Rusnov,2 Aline Boulanger1–3
1Pain Clinic Hôtel-Dieu, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montreal CHUM, 2Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montreal CRCHUM, 3Pain Clinic, Hôpital Sacre-Coeur, Montréal, Québec, Canada
Background: Waiting list management at chronic pain clinics has become a serious problem throughout Canada. We analyzed the waiting list at the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM) Pain Centre.
Methods: The present study is an observational, prospective study. We used a specifically designed survey questionnaire. Survey findings were analyzed with descriptive statistical methods.
Results: A total of 270 patients were contacted; only 146 were included. Of these, 93 were women and 53 men. The average age was 55.9 years. Fifty-two percent of the patients were referred by a medical specialist; 34% by family physicians; 3% for emergency; and 11% unknown. The mean for pain score was 6.7/10. Seventy-three percent were taking pain killers with an average improvement on their pain score of 52%. Ten percent of respondents were not taking any type of analgesic medication, while 17% were taking over-the-counter drugs. Fifty-three percent of the patients had been suffering from chronic pain for 5 years or less, while 10% had been suffering and awaiting specialized pain treatment for more than 20 years.
Conclusion: Our data suggests that accessibility to specialized health care is not the sole obstacle to the timely and effective management of chronic pain. Seventy-three percent of the patients were taking some form of pharmaceutical treatment for pain and reported an average improvement rate of 52% on their pain score under medication. Such inconsistency may be attributable to patients' lack of compliance with their treatment. The World Health Organization Working Group recommended in chronic patients a novel approach to health care, based on patient therapeutic education. Our results show that patients need to acquire self-management skills regarding their chronic conditions.
Keywords: chronic pain clinics, waiting list management, patient referral, waiting list demographics
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