March 2020 Newsletter
From our Executive Director, Maria Hudspith and Board Chair, Finlay Sinclair
People with pain, like all Canadians, are currently facing an unprecedented health crisis. COVID-19, and the necessary response to it, is having profound impacts on our community. I want to acknowledge that this is a particularly worrying time for people with chronic health conditions, seniors, and people with disabilities. We know that many people with pain are experiencing interruptions to their usual care and routines, and many health care workers are stretched beyond capacity.

During this time, Pain BC is committed to continuing to do what we’ve always done: working towards a future where no one is alone with pain. We’re still fully operational to provide you with the support you need during this difficult time:

  • Our Pain Support Line remains open for anyone who needs a listening ear, support or resource connection. Call us Monday to Thursday from 9 AM – 4PM at 1-844-880-PAIN (7246) or email [email protected]
  • We’re temporarily suspending our in-person Pain Support and Wellness Groups and working quickly to establish the program online. We plan to launch the online groups in April so we can continue to provide connection, hope and education, while keeping our community safe. We’ll share more information about how to register for an online Pain Support and Wellness Group in the coming weeks.
  • We’ll be sharing daily news and resources with specific relevance to our community through Facebook and Twitter.
  • We’re working with provincial and national health partners to make sure the needs of people with pain are considered in the response to COVID-19.

In this issue of our newsletter, we share a round-up of the most relevant resources and news related to this critical health issue and we’ll continue to share more as the situation evolves.
Please remember we are here for you during these challenging times. I encourage you to reach out to us through social media , email , or our support services to let us know your thoughts, ideas, fears or needs. We’re in this with you.


Maria Hudspith
Pain BC Executive Director

Finlay Sinclair,
Pain BC Board Chair
COVID-19 news and resources for people in pain

The growing concern over the community transmission of COVID-19 can be overwhelming, but please know that you're not alone with pain.

We've put together a list of news, information and resources specifically for people in pain that can be helpful during this time. The list includes recent changes to pharmacy prescribing practices that will enable pharmacists to refill prescription medications without a renewed prescription from a doctor. Please note that this list will be updated regularly as more information and resources become available. Please check back regularly.
Health Canada temporary exemptions on prescribing opioid medications

In response to the evolving COVID-19 situation, Health Canada has issued temporary exemptions to maintain access for people with pain who are currently taking opioid medications. The exemption enables Canadian pharmacists to extend or refill opioid medications without a renewed prescription, transfer opioid prescriptions to other pharmacists as needed and deliver opioid medications to people in pain who are self-isolating at home. The full exemption notice can be read at the link below. Please note that your pharmacist may not yet be aware of these changes and you may need to share this information with them.
National public consultation on chronic pain
Share your input with the Canadian Pain Task Force

As a supporter of Pain BC, you are likely well aware of the impacts of pain on individuals, families and entire communities. To effectively address the issue of chronic pain in our country, we need to hear from Canadians who are impacted by pain and those who care for them.

That is why we're excited to share that the Canadian Pain Task Force recently launched a national public consultation on chronic pain, providing a critical opportunity for Canadians to share their experiences, needs and ideas for an improved approach to pain care, treatment and prevention in Canada. The online consultation is open to anyone with an interest in pain, including people with lived experience of pain, caregivers, health care providers, researchers, policy makers and the general public. The survey will take approximately 15 to 30 minutes to complete and includes questions on barriers to addressing pain, ways to better understand, prevent and manage chronic pain, and informing and improving Canada’s approach to pain.

As someone who follows Pain BC’s work, your voice is instrumental to driving national action on pain and we encourage you to share your input. The online consultation also includes a section where you can share your personal experience with pain and/or read the experiences of others who live with or are impacted by pain in some capacity.

If you are interested in learning more about the Task Force’s work, we encourage you to read this recent Pain BC blog post which provides a summary of recent consultations, initiatives, and other engagements that are underway as part of its three-year mandate.
Pain BC programs, resources and updates
The following programs and initiatives are funded, in whole or in part, by the Province of British Columbia: Coaching for Health, Chronic pain management workshops for allied health care providers, Gentle Movement and Relaxation Course, Live Plan Be, Making Sense of Pain, Pain BC's monthly webinars for health care providers, Pain Foundations, Pain Support Line and Pain Waves podcast.
Our supports for people with pain
Access our free pain self-management resources, including evidence-based articles, assessment tools, and an anonymous discussion forum .
Connect with a trained volunteer to talk about your pain, get help with finding a new physician, find information on community resources, and much more.
Receive one-on-one phone support and mentorship from a coach who will help you learn about self-management, regaining function and improving your well-being.
Why I give: Donor Bev Evanchu

Bev Evanchu is a chartered professional accountant (CPA) and retired instructor from a local college in Cranbrook who was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) in 2002 and has lived with debilitating pain for nearly two decades following an accident with her arm. Despite having a limited income, Bev is a regular donor to Pain BC because she deeply values the organization’s work to improve the lives of people with pain.

“Throughout all of the years I’ve received treatment for pain, there haven’t been many health care workers who knew or even believed in what I had,” Bev says. “So, I donate to Pain BC to support pain education for health care providers. Plus, I want to help other people living with pain learn how to cope and manage [through  Pain BC’s self-management tools and resources ].”

Bev lives with daily, full-body pain due to CRPS and lost her husband to cancer three years ago. “My husband used to be my caregiver,” she says. “Losing him makes life hard, but I’m still here.”
Providing equitable pain education and support for Indigenous peoples: Elder Kathryn McCooeye

Chronic pain impacts people of all ages, genders and from all communities, but when pain is complicated by trauma and systemic racism, effective health care can become particularly difficult to access. To begin addressing this challenge, Pain BC recently launched a program called  Making Sense of Pain . The eight-week program is designed to provide equal opportunities for education and support to people who might otherwise face exclusion or stigma when accessing pain care.

Elder Kathryn McCooeye facilitates the Indigenous program in Nelson, BC, in conjunction with Dr. Rodica Janz, a physician who specializes in chronic pain. Kathryn is an Elder of Huron, Celtic and African ancestry who was raised in the Gitksan territories in northwestern BC. During her formative years, she was honoured to be fostered by two hereditary chiefs from that nation and later went on to study traditional Indigenous healing practices. She also has personal experience living with pain. Elder Kathryn was interested in the Making Sense of Pain program because she saw a need for a program in her community that incorporated Indigenous teachings on health and healing.

“I’m interested in helping people look at pain and medicine through an Indigenous lens,” Elder Kathryn says. “There is a lot of alignment with the Western model of pain science [which understands pain to be impacted by biological, social and psychological factors] and Indigenous science and medicine practices, which views all health conditions as rooted equally in mental, physical, emotional and spiritual aspects.”
New episode of our Pain Waves podcast

How two Canadian initiatives are advancing children’s pain research and practice

On this month’s episode of the Pain Waves podcast, we’re joined by Dr. Katie Birnie, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at the University of Calgary and a clinical psychologist at Alberta Children’s Hospital. She talks to us about the important work that is underway to advance how children’s pain is understood and managed across Canada through two major research and knowledge translation initiatives – the Partnering for Pain project and the Solutions for Kids in Pain (SKIP) network.
Upcoming Pain BC and partner workshops, webinars and courses
BC ECHO for Chronic Pain
This new and free virtual learning community brings together specialists and community health care providers from around the province to learn together from complex pain cases.

Upcoming sessions:

Session 8: Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
  • Date and time: April 21, 2020 from 6-8pm PST
  • Presenters: Dr. Najam Mian, pain specialist and Roly Fletcher, physiotherapist

Session 9: Screening for psychiatric and psychosocial co-morbidities
  • Date and time: May 19, 2020 from 6-8pm PST
  • Presenters: Dr. Mike Butterfield, psychiatrist and Dr. Peter Joy, psychologist

Each two-hour session includes a real, anonymous patient case discussion, which can be submitted by any attending health care provider. To submit a case, please email [email protected] .

Gentle Movement and Relaxation course
This free, online course will equip physiotherapists and other therapeutic movement professionals with practical knowledge and teaching resources to lead their own movement and relaxation programs for people living with chronic pain.

The Gentle Movement and Relaxation course is currently available to BC health care providers only.

Pain Foundations
This online course is designed to address the challenges faced by health care providers of all disciplines when assessing and treating people living with chronic pain. The course is free for health care providers in BC; a pricing structure for other geographical locations is coming soon.

Other programs, opportunities and resources
Opportunity to engage: Indigenous Inclusion Working Group
Apply by March 29, 2020

The BC Patient Safety and Quality Council (BCPSQC) and First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) are looking for Indigenous perspectives on services offered by the Patient Voices Network, a community of people with lived experience, families and caregivers who work with health care partners to improve BC's health care system . Participants will meet online and be asked to review current tools and practices for relevancy and safety and share their personal experiences in connecting to the Network and engagements t hey have participated in. Indigenous partners interested in participating are encouraged to apply by March 29, 2020.
Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance: New pain resources
The   Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance   (CAPA) has published two helpful tools highlighting free resources for people with lived experience of pain and recommendations for policy makers on how to support improved pain care.

The information in these tools is based on the results of an online survey CAPA generated in 2018 to better understand the unintended consequences of opioid policy changes on people living with pain.
Study: Investigating falls among people with chronic pain

If you are an adult living with chronic pain and have experienced a fall in the past year, a research team at  Queen's University  would like to learn more about your experience through this short survey.
Study: Immersive Multimedia Experiences for Cancer Patients with Chronic Pain

The  UBC School of Nursing  and SFU  School of Interactive Arts + Technology  are looking for people with cancer who also experience chronic pain to test the use of immersive multimedia experiences as a form of pain management. Research participants will be able to complete the study from their home and will be provided with an honorarium for their time. More information on the study, including eligibility, can be accessed here . To apply, please contact Crystal Sun, Project Manager at [email protected] .
In the news
Temporary pharmacy prescribing changes in BC: Enabling medication refills without an updated prescription
BC pharmacists can now provide medication refills to people in pain, including opioid medications, without an updated prescription from a doctor or nurse practitioner. This measure intends to prevent people from needing to visit overcrowded medical clinics and promotes safe social distancing, and will also free up medical professionals to treat urgent COVID-19 related cases. Please note that your doctor or pharmacist may not be aware of these recent changes and you may need to inform them.
It's OK to be scared of getting the coronavirus
A person with lived experience shares some hopeful messages with anyone feeling overwhelmed by the coronavirus.
Chronic illnesses don't just stop during a pandemic
The author of this article discusses how despite the current worldwide COVID-19 situation, people living with chronic illness are still fighting their own daily battles.
Incorporating the lived experience into the study of pain
IASP's Global Alliance of Pain Patient Advocates (GAPPA) discusses how it plans to incorporate people's lived experiences from research into clinical practice and care.
How life has (and hasn't) changed as a chronically ill person during COVID-19
The author of this article discusses how people living with pain and invisible illnesses are no strangers to the impacts of the current COVID-19 health crisis.
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