Transformative care is as much about training and treatments as it is about using a team to work with the patients. Most of the pain clinics have followed this protocol very well. But still, there is an overemphasis on passive treatments as the primary care strategy for these patients.
We all know that risk factors play a significant role in just about all chronic illnesses and particularly chronic pain; so why not train the patient at the same time as you treat the patient. The healthcare professional’s role then becomes one of transformation, one of helping a person really change their entire lives and whatever factors may be contributing to health and wellness. This would solve many problems.
There is a triple aim:
· reducing the patient’s problem
· improving the patient’s experience of care
· and reducing the cause of care
This can be achieved with a transformative care model. And patients get it. When the doctor tells a patient “I’m happy to treat you, but you would have much better success if we also train you to reduce the causes of the pain. In other words, those factors that are causing it to continue over time. Are you interested?” Most patients say, “Yes, of course I’m interested in reducing the causes of pain, and I’m happy to get treatment also.” Some people say “Well, I don’t want the treatment. I just want the training.”
Many of the challenges healthcare professionals face are high. They may see a patient every 15 minutes or 20 minutes. They don’t have time to train the patient. That is why the team approach is important. The team may include a health coach, or maybe a physical therapist or occupational therapist and sometimes a health psychologist. There are a variety of healthcare professionals whose focus is on training patients on what to do. It’s a model that has been implemented in pain clinics and would be worth having in other specialties.