Pain is a very common and personal experience that can have a significant impact on people’s lives. One in five Australians will experience chronic pain in their lifetime, and the prevalence increases with age. Pain also overlaps with dementia: it is estimated that up to 80% of aged care residents have chronic pain, while 53% of people in residential aged care have a diagnosis of dementia. As a result, pain is often undetected or mistreated in many aged care residents.

People with chronic pain may be more susceptible to COVID-19, particularly older people. It is important to recognise and manage pain in the best way possible for older people – the threat of COVID-19 makes this critical. While the findings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care highlighted much-needed changes in the aged care sector, the added complication of COVID-19 creates a perfect storm for timely action to bring these improvements forward.

In this presentation, Carol Bennett, CEO of Pain Australia, Dr Jennifer Abbey, founder of the Abbey Pain Scale, and Philip Daffas, CEO of PainChek address the key challenges brought about by COVID-19 and share how PainChek can improve quality of life for people with chronic pain during, and after the pandemic.