Southern DHB Persistent Pain Service
The Persistent Pain Service is an outpatient service made up of specialist healthcare professionals experienced and trained in the management of long term pain conditions. Persistent pain is classified as pain that has lasted more than three months and can affect all ages. At the moment all clinics and education sessions are held in Dunedin Hospital, although telehealth is available for some follow up care. It is really helpful if before being referred to the Pain Service you ask your referring doctor to include your email address or you contact the Pain Service secretary to give your email address if you have one.
When the Pain Service receives your doctor's referral you will be sent a questionnaire. If your email address has been supplied this questionnaire will be emailed to you, if not it will be posted. If you have access to the internet you will find it much easier to complete the questionnaires on a tablet, laptop, PC or mobile phone via a personalised link to a website. The paper copy posted in the envelope provided is acceptable, but slower to arrive at the Pain Service. Your referral is triaged when all the information is received. These questionnaires are used in many pain services across New Zealand and Australia. As well as contact details the questionnaires give us information about how long you have had pain, how it started, and baseline information of how it has affected your lifestyle and wellbeing. These questionnaires are part of a holistic assessment process using internationally recognised validated assessment tools and form part of your clinical assessment. If, for whatever reason, you have difficulty filling out the questionnaire, please contact the Pain Service administrator. It is also really important that you provide details of all medications. The questionnaires need to be returned before your referral can be triaged.
As well as gathering information to help the clinicians choose appropriate strategies, in the long term as all the major Australasian Pain centres gather the same outcome measures the Dunedin Pain Service, results can be benchmarked by similar services to ensure it provides the best care. This enables the service to have strong quality assurance measures.
The Dunedin Pain Service has treatment approaches that are evidence based and in line with worldwide trends in pain management. The mixture of specialised professionals provides a holistic approach to managing pain which can affect many aspects of a person’s life. The aim of the service, where possible, is to guide the client towards independent management of their pain condition and to enable them to have a more fulfilling life.
Usually rehabilitation strategies are as important or more important as medication approaches so education is provided in both individual and group settings. All suggested interventions are discussed with the client to enable them to make an informed choice of direction.
The Pain Service team is innovative and keen to explore international advances in pain medicine and pain management, so from time to time new approaches will be tried or offered.
The Pain Service team comprises pain medicine specialists and allied health professionals (Clinical Psychologists, Physiotherapists and an Occupational Therapist).
Management of complex pain problems requires a multidisciplinary approach to:
- prescribe and adjust medications
- provide education about the nature of the problem
- provide rehabilitation to improve quality of life and performance of daily activities.
The Persistent Pain Team
- Luciana Blaga, Senior Occupational Therapist
- Tracey Hogarty, Physiotherapist
- Wendy Lockhart, Physiotherapist
- Vandana Kapur, Clinical Psychologist
- Dr Naomi White PhD, Clinical Psychologist
- Specialist consultants below
The Persistent Pain Service is funded by the Ministry of Health so no charges apply. However the Persistent Pain Service is not contracted by ACC so patients under the care of ACC need to be referred to an ACC provider.