In order to help a growing number of clients manage chronic pain the Interior Health Authority is looking to establish a pain management centre — possibly in Kamloops.
Alternatively, a centre could be constructed in Kelowna, another small community within the authority, or a way found to help physicians better provide services to patients, Alan Stewart, the IHA’s senior medical director community and residential services, said Wednesday.
“We’re looking at the resources we have and what the needs would be,” he said. “It obviously impacts a lot on people’s quality of life.”
Chronic pain has been identified as a growing and pervasive problem, said Stewart. For the last couple of months, Stewart and other IHA officials have met with doctors, patient administrators, and health experts in an effort to develop a plan.
Stewart met with doctors in Kamloops on Monday night.
If a centre is built, it could offer a range of services including anesthesiologists, neurosurgeons, rehabilitation specialists, nurses, social workers and psychological support, said Stewart.
“We’re examining all the different options,” he said. “We’re trying to do what we think is the best given limited resources.”
Dr. Rob Baker is one of the physicians who have met with IHA on an ongoing basis. He said doctors would like to see centres built in Kamloops and Kelowna that offer a full range of support. Different levels of care would also be offered in smaller communities.
The problem with chronic pain is there’s no cure, said Baker. The pain is treated on an ongoing basis, which is why dedicated pain management centres are necessary.
“It’s the nature of the process. It’s not fixable, it’s manageable,” he said.
Stewart emphasized that the consultation process is in the early stages and a decision is a long ways off. Baker expects direction from IHA in 30 to 60 days.