Chronic pain affects more than six million Canadians of all ages, and is most prevalent among women, Indigenous peoples, and older adults. In British Columbia, about 1 million people live with often debilitating chronic pain. It is important to involve chronic pain patients in setting the national chronic pain research agenda in order to ensure focus on their priorities and concerns, since they will be most impacted by the research, and the ultimate goal is to improve their health-related quality of life.
Pain BC’s Executive Director Maria Hudspith who is also a Co-founder of the BC Pain Research Network is part of the team tasked with developing a priority-setting partnership to guide the national research priorities for chronic pain. By gathering input from surveys, town hall meetings, interviews, and social media consultations, the team amassed 5000 suggestions from 1500 people comprised of clinicians, researchers, people with lived experience of chronic pain (e.g., patients, caregivers, and family members), and decision makers with an interest in chronic pain. Using a technique called the Delphi process where research suggestions were sent out by survey and ranked several times until consensus was reached led to the identification of 14 questions fitting under the following 4 themes: (1) improving knowledge and competencies in chronic pain; (2) improving patient-centered chronic pain care; (3) preventing chronic pain and reducing associated symptoms; and (4) improving access to and coordination of patient-centered chronic pain care. To see what these 14 questions are and to read in more detail about the process, please see the original article.