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Healthy Living with Pain Program

The Healthy Living with Pain program (HeLP) was developed in late 2013 as a unique way for our interdisciplinary team to provide safe and effective care for our patients who are living with chronic pain. The “opioid crisis” has been widespread in the media recently and is based on very real concerns in health care about increased use of these medications. Over the past decade, there have been significantly higher rates of complications and overdoses from opioids in Ontario. We now know a lot more about the risks of using these medications at higher doses and long-term. At the same time, approximately 25 per cent of North Americans experience chronic pain, and need support and treatment to help manage this diagnosis.

Our award winning program aims at providing comprehensive care to our patients with chronic, non-cancer pain. We do this by wrapping a team around each person. A team includes a Nurse Practitioner with advanced skills in chronic pain assessment and management, a resident family physician who provides medical assessment, safe opioid prescribing and continuity of care, a faculty staff family physician advisor who works with the team to ensure optimal care plans are developed, and a staff pharmacist, who is available to discuss medication management issues.

The HeLP Program was awarded the Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario “Bright Lights” Award in 2016. Accreditation Canada has recognized our Healthy Living with Pain Program as a “Leading Practice.” Our program will be described on the Health Service Organization website which portrays exemplary programs from across the country for all to see. Our program’s Nurse Practitioner, Jessica, received the Nurse Practitioner Association of Ontario President’s Award for Innovation in 2017.

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