Not all heroes wear capes – some wear Pain Champion badges!

This story is part of a series led by Solutions for Kids in Pain (SKIP) about efforts being made across Canada and beyond to mobilize evidence-based solutions through coordination and collaboration. To learn more about 100+ groups working to improve children’s pain management, click here.

Anyone can be a champion for children’s pain, and Scott Thieu is proving it’s all in a day’s work. 

In Fall 2020, Scott, an occupational therapist at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, signed up to become an IWK Pain Champion. Over 50 other healthcare professionals signed up with him, from emergency department physicians to pediatric dentists, who believe that cross-discipline perspectives should be represented in all pain management efforts at the IWK.

Scott knows that accessible, evidence-based information can empower patients and their families, no matter the type of pain they are experiencing. 

We recognize that children experience pain not only in daily life, but also during different procedures at the hospital. Regardless of the source of the pain, our team works to always provide appropriate pain management. 

That sense of empowerment goes beyond his patients. Scott credits SKIP for sharing tools and resources that give him confidence when discussing treatment options.

The information from SKIP also helps me with my clinical decision-making and ensures that my practice is grounded in evidence,” he says. “SKIP is always clear and concise. They share just enough information to provide a general understanding of the topic, but there is always the opportunity for further exploration through links or other materials.”

For Scott, being a champion for children’s pain means being open to change. 

“Change in healthcare settings can be challenging. As we come to understand more about pain, our practice needs to reflect that. It is our responsibility to seek effective interventions to achieve the best possible outcomes.” 

One of those changes is… technology! He says digital content that is accessible anywhere at any time, like SKIP’s bilingual website and In the Loop newsletter, allows him to comfort his patients by showing them they are not alone, and solutions exist. Plus, he’s wearing his pain champion badge on Tiktok and taking knowledge mobilization into his own hands! Check out his video here.

It is because of pain champions like Scott that SKIP is able to make a big difference in the lives of patients and families.

“Something I value about the pain community is the collaboration, and SKIP has taken this experience to a whole new level.”