The main role, of the Occupational Therapists and members of the interdisciplinary team at the Chronic Pain Management Unit, is to work individually with patients during their four-week admission as a case manager and also run psycho-educational groups.
They are also active in the assessment process to determine the suitability of patients for admission into the Program.
As Occupational Therapists, they recognize the impact suffering from chronic pain can have on various aspects of an individual’s functioning i.e. in physical, social, emotional, and spiritual domains. Using primarily cognitive-behavioural therapy approaches, the Occupational Therapists work alongside patients during their admission to help them overcome barriers resulting from chronic pain in order to improve their functioning and quality of life.
As case managers, they meet regularly with patients to help them set and achieve their goals. Patients are asked to consider areas of their life that have been negatively affected by their pain, which they hope to either improve or resume involvement in. The Occupational Therapist then works with patients to enable them to utilize the strategies and techniques taught in the Program to develop more adaptive behaviours in order to achieve these goals.
A common challenge that patients face is difficulties with managing at work or returning to work. The Occupational Therapists help identify barriers to returning to work or re-training. As an advocate, we then help to address these issues. This can involve follow-up in the workplace to facilitate problem-solving how to transfer newly learned pain management skills into a work or school environment.