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New program for chronic pain sufferers in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

For now the program is led over Zoom, with a plan for an in-person version in the future
Registered nurse Joel Bond, left, and Natalie Carrion, an occupational therapist, are both a part of the new chronic pain self-management program. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

A new chronic pain self-management program is available for residents of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

The program – that just finished its pilot cohort at the Ridge Meadows Wellness and Urgent and Primary Care Centre – educates adults who have chronic pain on how pain works and gives them strategies to increase their quality of life and daily function.

“The medical system has traditionally treated pain by focusing on the biological issue, but we know from the literature that persistent pain has mental and social aspects as well,” explained Natalie Carrion, an occupational therapist for the program.

“This is why the team-based approach is so important. By bringing together these different areas of expertise, we can ensure that we have the resources available to address that complexity,” noted Carrion.

Currently the program is virtual due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the plan is to have an in-person version offered in the future.

READ MORE: New primary care centre now open in Maple Ridge

For now it is led over Zoom by an interdisciplinary team of medical professionals including a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, registered nurse, registered dietician, and social workers.

Registered nurse, Joel Bond, believes that making a local chronic pain program available could not have come at a more pressing time.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the challenges of people living with chronic pain,” he said.

“They aren’t going out as much, which means they aren’t as physically active and aren’t having as many social interactions—that combined with increased anxiety and depression can potentially elevate their pain experience,” added Bond, who also works out of the Ridge Meadows Wellness and Urgent and Primary Care Centre.

The program is the result of local physicians, the health authority, community partners and patients working together, explained Ridge Meadows Division of Family Practice executive director, Treena Innes.

“Our physicians have been working for years to understand patients’ pain journeys, to explore what services would best meet those needs, and to advocate for them. We are thrilled that, through the support of our local Primary Care Network, we are now able to see all of that planning become reality,” she noted.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge’s urgent care centre has an urgent role

The program is being funded by the Ridge Meadows Primary Care Network, a new model of primary health care being launched across the province by the Ministry of Health.

It’s goal is to build a seamless health care journey for patients and it is led locally by the Ridge Meadows Division of Family Practice, Fraser Health and Katzie First Nation.

The Primary Care Network is planning to have more programs available in the near future such as an integrated chronic disease education program.

Ridge Meadows Division of Family Practice chair, Dr. Melodie Prem-Smith is excited that family doctors and nurse practitioners now have an option to refer their patients into the chronic pain self-management program.

“They know their patients will get the care they need and deserve,” said Prem-Smith.

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows residents interested in the program should contact their family doctors or nurse practitioners.

For more information on the Ridge Meadows Primary Care Network, go to or visit them on Facebook.

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Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

Colleen Flanagan is an award-winning multimedia journalist with more than 15 years experience in the industry.
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