Academic and Clinical Partnership in Chronic Pain Education and Management
Purpose: Physical therapists (PTs) often treat patients with chronic pain, whether as a primary complaint or comorbidity. Growing evidence supports Pain Neuroscience Education (PNE) – aimed at changing patients’ pain perceptions – as an effective approach to positively impact pain ratings and quality of life metrics (Watson et al., 2019; Louw et al., 2016). Physical therapists are in an ideal position to deliver PNE, but many may need additional training and support to effectively incorporate this approach into patient management as therapeutic alliance between patient and clinician is an important part of the process (Wiljma et al., 2017). Mindfulness-based approaches have also been shown to positively impact the experience of pain and result in a clinical reduction in pain intensity (Morone 2019; Hilton et al., 2017). The purpose of this study was to utilize an academic and clinical partnership to develop PNE resources for use by local PTs, and evaluate the impact of this partnership in delivering a combinatorial PNE + mindfulness workshop to current patients and the community who experience chronic pain. Methods/Description: Phase One (completed): 1a) Doctor of Physical (DPT) students performed interviews with patients with chronic pain to understand their experience with physical therapy; 1b) DPT students interviewed PTs to learn about their challenges with teaching PNE; 2) DPT students created content for PT educational sessions for teaching of PNE to PTs in a local clinic; 3) case-study educational sessions were provided for PTs to practice integrating PNE into clinical practice. Phase Two (in process): 1a) present a PNE presentation (utilizing both academic and clinical partners) to current patients and the community who experience chronic pain; 1b) introduce mindfulness-based practices as a tool for managing pain and improving quality of life. Results/Outcomes: Phase One has been completed, resulting in the development of an educational screencast that local PTs reviewed prior to the in-person case-study sessions. Faculty/clinic owner was present when the students led practice cases and discussed the material with the PTs. Phase Two will be implemented, including outcome assessment, in the upcoming months. Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: This project aligns with the ELC theme, Building Bridges for the Future through Curricular and Clinical Innovations: subtheme, IPE in Academic and Workplace Learning. Both phases illustrate a collaborative educational intervention between academic faculty, DPT students, and clinicians with a goal of improving quality of life outcomes for patients with chronic pain. In this partnership, all stakeholders served as both teachers and learners.