Debbie Payne 2

Debbie, General Manager at Sir William Hudson Memorial Centre, has worked in aged care for over 30 years. During her career, she has successfully managed various aged care facilities for both nonprofit and forprofit organisations. As General Manager, Debbie’s role is busy and can be demanding, overseeing a range of responsibilities including employment processes, human resources, clinical governance, compliance, and resident care.

Despite the pressures, Debbie has an unwavering commitment to delivering the highest quality care to each resident. Together with her team, they aim to show empathy and compassion in every interaction, building a deep understanding of each person, their family, and their unique background.

“It’s a job where you get to know the ins and outs of the person and their families and the history of them, it’s just delightful. Whereas in the public hospital system, you don’t actually get to know anybody. They’re in and out and you’re just treating the symptoms. [In aged care] you’re trying to do the best you can to make the person happy as well as healthy. You need to have excellent clinical skills.”

The impacts of pain

At Sir William Hudson Memorial Centre, Debbie oversees 50 residents, all of whom experience some level of pain. Accurate pain assessment is critical to help maintain their quality of life, and allow them to participate in their daily activities, as pain can significantly impact their mobility, socialisation, and eating habits. For some residents, the pain can be debilitating, and it is crucial for Registered Nurses (RNs) to accurately identify and manage pain to prevent depression and other serious physical and psychological impacts of pain.

“Pain affects residents’ mobility. If they’re in pain, they won’t mobilise. If they’re in pain, they won’t go to social activities. If they’re in pain they won’t eat. So you’ve got to make sure that you’re treating the pain so that their participation in everything else is spot on and they’re not sitting there depressed and losing their will to live.”

Improvement in Assessments

Debbie’s centre uses PainChek® to better manage pain for residents, and since its introduction, there has been an exceptionally high usage of the tool.

PainChek® is used up to 10-12 times per shift and is an important step in care routines, even if residents are not reporting pain. It’s helped rule out pain-related issues as the cause of discomfort for residents and has made clinical assessments easier, especially for those living with dementia.

Debbie believes PainChek® has significantly improved the quality of care provided to residents in several ways. RNs have become better at interpreting residents’ body language and facial expressions, and are now more attentive and observant of residents’ needs.

“Clinical assessments [conducted by] our RN’s have improved dramatically, we’ve had PainChek® for nearly two years now. You can see huge growth in their clinical assessments, the treatments of pain and their clinical skills.”

Debbie adds “There were so many people in pain that were going untreated because it wasn’t identified, whereas now our RN’s have a tool that actually tells them, even if they’re a junior RN and they use that tool, their pain is going to be identified.”

As PainChek® also allows the care team to track pain levels over time, it’s led to a deeper understanding of each resident’s needs, better clinical assessments, and improved compliance standards, all contributing to a better quality of life for all residents.

“You can also go back in the history of PainChek® for that person, so you can see if the pain is starting to escalate or not. It gives us more confidence, we know if the treatments are working or if it’s not.”


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