Eastern Hub: A multi-disciplinary perspective on pediatric pain

SKIP’s Eastern Canada Hub collaborated with the Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre to develop a three-day education event for the hospital’s team that is working to start up a new multidisciplinary pediatric pain clinic. This new clinic is launching In January 2023 and will be the first pediatric complex pain service for the whole province of Newfoundland and Labrador. “We recognized that we needed to provide a more comprehensive service to children whose lives were being impacted by pain. We saw SKIP as a nationally and internationally connected group of clinicians and researchers leading the country in best practices for children’s pain management and wanted to partner with them to ensure we were getting it right from the start,” explains Colleen Down, a physiotherapist with the Janeway and event co-lead.

Institutional change is often easier said than done. It involves many moving and interconnected parts including work culture, staffing, budgets, and training – just to name a few. But with time, commitment, collaboration and support, institutions can successfully implement evidence-based best practices to improve children’s pain management. Our recent event in collaboration with the Janeway is proof that the pathway to change can be effective, engaging, and impactful.

The Janeway is a children’s hospital in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador that provides specialized pediatric and prenatal health care for people throughout the entire province. The hospital is preparing to launch a new out-patient pain clinic to better serve the needs of its community.

“As clinicians who have treated kids with pain for years, we see a huge need for a multidisciplinary approach to maximize a child’s participation and function in all areas of life when living with pain. As we plan the launch of our new pain clinic, we are committed to establishing best practices for children’s pain management right from the start and are so glad to have been able to connect with SKIP’s network of multidisciplinary pain experts to inform this work and share knowledge with our team,” explains event co-lead and physiotherapist at the Janeway, Shawna Sparkes.

The Janeway connected with SKIP’s Eastern Hub, hosted at IWK Health Centre, to collaborate on a knowledge sharing event for their staff team centering multidisciplinary approaches to pain management.

“This is exactly why we’re here,” said Laura Gibson, SKIP Knowledge Broker at the Eastern Hub who led the collaboration with Chad Larabie, SKIP Knowledge Broker at the Central Hub. “To help institutions tap into SKIP’s vast network and pool of resources and tools and facilitate meaningful change that is aligned with their context and community needs.”

To support this multi-day knowledge sharing event, SKIP connected with our cross-Canada network to coordinate tools and training, including a three-day virtual education event with 60 attendees and 19 speakers from the SKIP community.

The education event, titled Complex Pain Education Sessions, offered the Janeway’s team members a deep dive into multidisciplinary pain management. It featured talks from leading experts including Dr. Jennifer Stinson, co-lead of SKIP’s Central Canada Hub at SickKids, who spoke about the benefits of virtual care, especially in rural environments, and how it can be applied in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“The multi-day event was designed specifically for health professionals at the Janeway with tailored presentations on children’s pain management to help them establish an evidence-based program for both the new clinic, and the hospital generally. The focus was on intake assessment, outcome measures, intervention strategies, and evidence that guides practice as it relates to the team management of chronic/complex pain. We brought together experts from across the country and across disciplines. It was truly so exciting to be present for the engaging dialogues between panelists and participants as we talked through the practical, local applications of this knowledge.” describes Laura. “Participants were able to connect with subject matter experts and people working at existing pain clinics, so they could see how things are being done across Canada.”

In line with SKIP’s commitment to being a Patients Included organization, the team drew on SKIP’s network to ensure the event’s agenda featured Patient Partners, including 13-year-old Chloe Fleisher, who shared her experience living with chronic pain.

Chloe received life-saving surgery from SickKids just 36 hours after she was born. Since then, her mother, Michelle Wan, has helped coordinate Chloe’s care as a long-term medically complex surgical patient. Michelle, who is a member of the SickKids Family Advisory Network, explained that even the format of Chloe’s presentation promoted a culture of wellness.

“We purposefully put a short break in the middle of her presentation. We all need time to reset and it's important to show what 'wellness' looks like- especially during a pain presentation," said Michelle. "Organizations like SKIP are very impactful due to the focus on implementation and knowledge mobilization.”

The education event has had a lasting impact on attendees from Janeway. When polled, 100% attendees agreed that the information was helpful to their practice, the virtual education format suited their needs, and they want to attend a similar event in the future!