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The Toronto General Hospital Transitional Pain Service: development and implementation of a multidisciplinary program to prevent chronic postsurgical pain

Authors Katz J, Weinrib A, Fashler S, Katznelzon R, Shah B, Ladak S, Jiang J, Li Q, McMillan K, Santa Mina D, Wentlandt K, McRae K, Tamir D, Lyn S, de Perrot M, Rao V, Grant D, Roche-Nagle G, Cleary S, Hofer S, Gilbert R, Wijeysundera D, Ritvo P, Janmohamed T, O'Leary G, Clarke H

Received 7 July 2015

Accepted for publication 24 August 2015

Published 14 October 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 695—702


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Editor who approved publication: Dr Michael Schatman

Joel Katz,1–3 Aliza Weinrib,1,2 Samantha R Fashler,2 Rita Katznelzon,1,3 Bansi R Shah,1 Salima SJ Ladak,1 Jiao Jiang,1 Qing Li,1 Kayla McMillan,1 Daniel Santa Mina,5,6 Kirsten Wentlandt,7 Karen McRae,1,3 Diana Tamir,1,3 Sheldon Lyn,1,3 Marc de Perrot,8 Vivek Rao,9 David Grant,10 Graham Roche-Nagle,11 Sean P Cleary,12 Stefan OP Hofer,13 Ralph Gilbert,14 Duminda Wijeysundera,1,3 Paul Ritvo,15 Tahir Janmohamed,16 Gerald O’Leary,1,3 Hance Clarke1,3

1Department of Anesthesia and Pain Management, Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network, University of Toronto, 2Department of Psychology, York University, 3Department of Anesthesia, University of Toronto, 4Palliative Care, University Health Network, University of Toronto, 5Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, University of Toronto, 6Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, 7Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto, 8Division of Thoracic Surgery, Toronto General Hospital, 9Division of Cardiovascular Surgery, Toronto General Hospital, 10Multiorgan Transplant Program, Toronto General Hospital, 11Division of Vascular Surgery, Toronto General Hospital, 12Division of General Surgery, Toronto General Hospital, 13Division of Plastic Surgery, Toronto General Hospital, 14Division of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Toronto General Hospital, 15Department of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, 16ManagingLife, Toronto, ON, Canada

Abstract: Chronic postsurgical pain (CPSP), an often unanticipated result of necessary and even life-saving procedures, develops in 5–10% of patients one-year after major surgery. Substantial advances have been made in identifying patients at elevated risk of developing CPSP based on perioperative pain, opioid use, and negative affect, including depression, anxiety, pain catastrophizing, and posttraumatic stress disorder-like symptoms. The Transitional Pain Service (TPS) at Toronto General Hospital (TGH) is the first to comprehensively address the problem of CPSP at three stages: 1) preoperatively, 2) postoperatively in hospital, and 3) postoperatively in an outpatient setting for up to 6 months after surgery. Patients at high risk for CPSP are identified early and offered coordinated and comprehensive care by the multidisciplinary team consisting of pain physicians, advanced practice nurses, psychologists, and physiotherapists. Access to expert intervention through the Transitional Pain Service bypasses typically long wait times for surgical patients to be referred and seen in chronic pain clinics. This affords the opportunity to impact patients' pain trajectories, preventing the transition from acute to chronic pain, and reducing suffering, disability, and health care costs. In this report, we describe the workings of the Transitional Pain Service at Toronto General Hospital, including the clinical algorithm used to identify patients, and clinical services offered to patients as they transition through the stages of surgical recovery. We describe the role of the psychological treatment, which draws on innovations in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy that allow for brief and effective behavioral interventions to be applied transdiagnostically and preventatively. Finally, we describe our vision for future growth.

Keywords: Transitional Pain Service, chronic postsurgical pain, transition to chronic pain, opioid use, multidisciplinary treatment

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