Better pain management at end of life

ONE-QUARTER of elderly people experience pain during the last two years of their life, and the percentage of people with pain increases to about 50% in the last four months of life.

Pain management in end-of-life care presents a unique set of opportunities for patients, carers and doctors. GP knowledge of “total pain” concepts along with basic end-of-life pain management offers much to patients and their families.

To help GPs better manage patient pain at or near the end of their lives the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and the Centre for Palliative Care Research and Education (CPCRE) have jointly developed a free app and website.

The GP Pain Help App is available for iOS and Android smartphones and devices on the iTunes and Google Play stores, and also through ACRRM's Rural and Remote Medical Education Online (RRMEO) platform.

The app includes a treatment decision tree, a section on types of pain and various analgesics, breakthrough pain information, a dose conversion tool, patient FAQs, pain management and palliative care resources and a troubleshooting section.

The content has been developed by CPCRE, part of Queensland Health, with the app and website developed by the college.

It is available free of charge as a service to general practitioners and other health professionals with patients experiencing pain, especially at the end of life.

ACRRM members can access the website via RRMEO and there are links to the iTunes and Google Play stores to download it to iPhones, iPads or Android smartphones or tablets.

It is also available at www.gppainhelp.com.

First aid