When going to hospital to be treated for whichever ailment that has decided to attack your body, one would expected to be “pain free” as they undergo the necessary procedures to cure them. Well some do get pain free help but majority of others still suffer under severe pain, not because the hospital does not have the adequate medication needed to free your body from torture, but at times it’s because the clinicians are not empowered to asses and manage pain adequately.
Due to this gap in the medical world an initiative dubbed “The Pain Free Hospital Initiative” (PFHI) which is supported by Treat the Pain-a program of the American Cancer Society (ACS) in partnership with Kenya Hospice and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) was developed to integrate pain treatment into service delivery at hospitals where pain relief medications are available yet under-prescribed. The goal of the initiative is to equip staff to assess pain, provide high-quality first-line treatment, and in doing so improve overall access to essential pain medication eventually leading to improved quality of life.
To effectively implement pain management into a health care system, it requires access to medicines and an understanding of when and how to give pain medication and the prioritization of pain management as an essential part of care.
The Machakos Hospital has the training being done in a modular and hospital format making it cost effective and able to attract a bigger number of attendants. The trainees are drawn from different departments and cadres. The session that was held on 11th of October 2016 at the hospital focused mostly on opioid initiation, titration and dispelling the myths concerning opioids e.g. addiction. The participants, who were a combination of healthcare providers from various departments in the hospital, were quite interested and seemed well taught judging by the questions they answered and asked. Each topic they covered was clearly evidence based making it a subject that was close to home.
Mr. Musau, the head of the palliative care unit in The Machakos Hospital pointed out that people are very eager to learn and practice in reality, and have seen that pain is a very important aspect to tackle. The departments are very supportive and are pushing for their people to be trained. One can notice that there is a great improvement in terms of pain management in the wards.
“Today we had a lovely presentation from the lecturers and we appreciate them. Thank you for coming over and we will practice what we have been taught and at least now the patients won’t suffer from pain” said one of the jovial participants.
The hospital has plans underway to have all the clinical service providers undergo the PFHI training and sensitize the non clinical staff on pain management.
“Musau has been very instrumental in pushing the initiative. Many thanks to the hospital and healthcare providers for showing interest, keep running and keep doing the good work that you do.” said David Musyoki a representative from KEHPCA, at the close of the session.
The training has been conducted at The Kenyatta National Hospital and AIC Kijabe Hospital, and a similar training is being conducted at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and Maua Methodist Hospital with prospects of other facilities in planning. Over the course of one year, PFHI will train physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare providers on how to assess pain levels and dispense pain medication. The program will also stress the importance of pain management for patients, specifically those suffering from illnesses that require Palliative Care.