Issue

Vol 134 No 1543: 8 October 2021

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Issue Summary

Article
SUMMARY

Are we just dishing out pills constantly to mask their pain? Kaiāwhina Māori health workers’ perspectives on pain management for Māori | OPEN ACCESS

We asked 13 kaiāwhina (Maori community health workers) working in Takiri Mai Te Ata Whānau Ora Collective in Greater Wellington region about their views on online resources for pain management and their challenges in supporting whānau living with chronic pain accessing primary health services. We found four main themes from the interviews. (1) Whānau were predominantly managed by pain medications by their GPs and they developed side-effects due to long-term use. (2) Whānau were not told why they experience chronic pain and kaiāwhina recommended the importance of listening and kōrero with whānau educating about pain mechanisms using simple explanations and culturally tailored online resources (e.g. depression.org.nz). (3) Whānau often use Rongoā (eg, mirimiri) to manage their pain, because they not only improved tinana (physical health) but also wairua (spiritual) and hinengaro (psychological wellbeing). Yet, whānau were never asked about rongoā in their clinical consultations. (4) Kaiāwhina were not aware of specialised pain services and reported none of their supporting whānau were referred to specialised services for pain management. Our results suggest potential gaps in healthcare pathways and culturally responsive care for Māori living with pain, which invariably contribute to inequities of outcomes for this population. As Māori adults are 1.4 times more likely than non-Māori adults to report chronic pain, we recommend health professionals moving away from a biomedical model of pain management in to more complex but relevant paradigms of achieving pae ora and holistic health outcomes. Community-based solutions are urgently needed to achieve equitable outcomes: for example, kaiāwhina could be trained to provide chronic pain assessment and management in the community.

Article
SUMMARY

Are we just dishing out pills constantly to mask their pain? Kaiāwhina Māori health workers’ perspectives on pain management for Māori | OPEN ACCESS

We asked 13 kaiāwhina (Maori community health workers) working in Takiri Mai Te Ata Whānau Ora Collective in Greater Wellington region about their views on online resources for pain management and their challenges in supporting whānau living with chronic pain accessing primary health services. We found four main themes from the interviews. (1) Whānau were predominantly managed by pain medications by their GPs and they developed side-effects due to long-term use. (2) Whānau were not told why they experience chronic pain and kaiāwhina recommended the importance of listening and kōrero with whānau educating about pain mechanisms using simple explanations and culturally tailored online resources (e.g. depression.org.nz). (3) Whānau often use Rongoā (eg, mirimiri) to manage their pain, because they not only improved tinana (physical health) but also wairua (spiritual) and hinengaro (psychological wellbeing). Yet, whānau were never asked about rongoā in their clinical consultations. (4) Kaiāwhina were not aware of specialised pain services and reported none of their supporting whānau were referred to specialised services for pain management. Our results suggest potential gaps in healthcare pathways and culturally responsive care for Māori living with pain, which invariably contribute to inequities of outcomes for this population. As Māori adults are 1.4 times more likely than non-Māori adults to report chronic pain, we recommend health professionals moving away from a biomedical model of pain management in to more complex but relevant paradigms of achieving pae ora and holistic health outcomes. Community-based solutions are urgently needed to achieve equitable outcomes: for example, kaiāwhina could be trained to provide chronic pain assessment and management in the community.