Using tech to better manage residents’ pain

Victorian-based VMCH is the latest aged care provider to announce a roll out of Australian-developed pain assessment technology for residents unable to communicate their pain.

Following a successful trial at three facilities in 2018, VMCH is now rolling out the pain assessment tool PainChek to all facilities.

It is doing so ahead of a $5 million Federal Government initiative to make the technology available to all facilities with residents with dementia for one year.

PainChek is a Therapeutic Goods Administration registered medical device that uses artificial intelligence and facial recognition to automatically detect pain.

The device scans a resident’s face to look for micro expressions of pain and then staff complete assessments on vocalisations, movements, behaviours, activity and the body to complete the evaluation.

VMCH clinical manager Jeffrey Brooks said VMCH was now implementing PainChek across the organisation’s 12 aged care homes.

“After conducting the initial trial in 2018, we believe it is well worth the investment of funding the rollout of this program ourselves.

“We are continuing to find ways to improve the services we provide our residents, including the use of technology, and this is one more step in the right direction,” Mr Brooks said.

PainChek head of business development David Allsopp said he was thrilled about VMCH’s rapid uptake and acceptance of the device.

“This is the first time we have gone live across 12 homes in the space of a two-week period.

“I believe this speaks to ease of use and acceptance of the product. We are excited about the positive impact PainChek can have on residents’ living in VMCH,” Mr Allsopp said.

PainChek, which now has regulatory clearance in Australia and Europe, originated at Curtin University and was further developed by Australian digital health company PainChek.

Services that have already adopted the technology into practice include aged care provider Churches of Christ in Queensland and Dementia Services Australia, which leads the national government-funded Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service and Severe Behaviour Response Teams.

This article was originally published on www.australianageingagenda.com.au on 25/7/19 by Natasha Egan.