PainChek is now being used by pharmacists embedded in aged care homes to improve pain management in non-verbal elderly Tasmanians.

Pharmacy Daily – April 9, 2019

A pharmacist has been embedded in an aged care home to optimise residents’ clinical outcomes by improving their drug treatment, including their pain management. Recognising that accurate pain assessment is the cornerstone to best pain management, the pharmacist will be armed with PainChek.

PainChek is now being used in more than 66 aged care sites with more than 4,000 residents around Australia. The technology is also being used by Dementia Support Australia consultants who provide care to aged care home residents via the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) and Severe Behaviour Response Teams (SBRT).

The Tasmanian situation is unique because the app is being used in the hands of an embedded, accredited pharmacist. The model is being closely watched and has the potential to be replicated in aged care homes around Australia. Consultant Pharmacy Services, the team responsible for the pharmacist, plan to expand the model to other aged care facilities in the future.

According to the Chief Scientific Officer at PainChek, Professor Jeff Hughes, the app was developed to drive positive changes in pain management in aged care settings and these are likely to be amplified with the involvement of pharmacists.

“We are getting positive feedback on the value of PainChek® from our users in residential aged care. Research shows that pain related behaviours are often misdiagnosed in aged care settings and this can lead to unnecessary suffering and inappropriate treatment. PainChek® can help to turn that around,” said Professor Hughes, who is also an accredited pharmacist.

Consultant pharmacist Dr Peter Tenni, who is responsible for the initial embedded pharmacist in Tasmania says pharmacists continue to play a key role in the clinical management of elderly people in residential aged care.

“We think embedding pharmacists in aged care homes can have a very positive impact on clinical care. Pain management is one area which we will be focussing on, and having the PainChek® app to help the pharmacist assess and monitor residents’ pain will enhance their ability to have an even greater positive impact,” said Dr Tenni.