Aileen Williams at RAAFA

Aileen Williams’ career in aged care spans more than 35 years. During that time she’s worked in many domains as a Registered Nurse, with a focus on management positions over the last two decades.

Today Aileen is a Quality Coordinator at RAAFA, part of a team of five dedicated to legislative compliance and continuous improvement across the organisation. A core part of her job is supporting the teams by developing a monthly clinical indicators report. Several of these clinical indicators centre around the experience of pain.

“Some of our clinical indicators we look at are falls, wounds and behaviours of concern,” Aileen says. “These may be related to pain or contributing to pain, so we look at that data in our quality report each month. We go through all of our clinical indicator domains and measure how well the teams have done, what issues they may have had, and where further support may be needed.”

A personal perspective

Like most aged care facilities, Ailieen believes the majority of residents at RAAFA’s sites are living with some form of pain.

“Most of the residents experience pain at some level, especially living with arthritis and other comorbidities,” she explains. “I think there’s probably a lot more pain than we recognise through conventional methods.”

Managing pain effectively is a particularly important issue for Aileen, who understands all too well the effect unmanaged pain can have on a person’s quality of life.

“Pain impacts upon every aspect of a person’s life in terms of appetite, enjoyment of life, mobility, and how they feel about themselves,” she shares.

“My mother had Alzheimer’s, and I have had quite a lot of personal experience with death and dying. I had three sisters who passed away through cancer and I have experienced them having unmanaged pain, which is extremely difficult to sit by and watch as a sister, as a nurse, as anybody.”

“So for me, pain needs to be addressed more readily than us taking a paternalistic attitude that we know best how to manage people’s pain. ​​It’s also incredibly important to be able to knowledgeably demonstrate to loved ones that you have recognised the impact of pain on a resident, and the course of action that we have taken to relieve that pain.”


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