Experts to address crucial issues of pain management and disability health reform

Leading Australian and international medical experts will convene in Brisbane next week to address crucial areas of rehabilitation medicine, including health reform, barriers to rehabilitation healthcare services and pain management.

The Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine (AFRM) of The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), Australia’s largest specialist medical college, will hold its Annual Scientific Meeting, this year with the theme ‘Striking AcCORD – succeeding through teamwork’.

AFRM President Dr Kath McCarthy has heralded the Annual Scientific Meeting a crucial step in bringing together the foremost experts to discuss some of the most challenging issues relating to rehabilitation medicine.

“Injury and pain impact thousands of Australians every year, however it is fair to say that patients undergoing rehabilitation are not top-of-mind when it comes to the healthcare system and health reform, due to the long-term nature of their struggle,” Dr McCarthy said. “This Annual Scientific Meeting presents a unique opportunity to address pressing issues, including pain management, interdisciplinary care and the importance of community-based care.”

Leading international rehabilitation physicians and other rehabilitation and spinal cord injury experts will present on innovative treatments currently being explored to assist in pain management and managing the psychological challenges faced by the patient and care giver in the rehabilitation journey.

The Annual Scientific Meeting follows the Productivity Commission’s report on disability care and support, delivered in August 2011. The report recommended the creation of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to provide insurance cover for an estimated 410,000 people with significant disability, an important initiative long campaigned for by the AFRM Dr McCarthy said that increasing access to rehabilitation services is crucial for meaningful change. “An appropriately funded insurance scheme will realise the potential to access lifechanging services.

“Health reform has been a key priority for the government, and seeing disability receive an elevated status, similar to that of mental health and aged care, is very welcome.” “Rehabilitation physicians across all settings have long worked with patients in need of greater financial assistance.”

The Annual Scientific Meeting has attracted a high calibre of keynote speakers, including the University of Washington’s Professor Mark Jensen who will present on hypnotic cognitive therapy – an innovative treatment to enhance pain management and patient outcomes.

Professor Li Jianium, Director of the Chinese Rehab Centre will also present on current models of care for people with spinal cord injuries in China.

It is estimated that 350 of Australians are affected by spinal cord injury ever year, impacting work, personal relationships and the independence of patients and their loved ones. The Annual Scientific Meeting, to be held from 13 to 17 September will address a diverse range of health-related issues relating to the practice of rehabilitation in the acute and subacute settings, focusing on patient care, innovative therapies and the impact of the patient – physician on recovery.

The 2011 AFRM Annual Scientific Meeting will be held in Brisbane from 13 to 17, September, 2011 - http://www.spinalrehab2011.com/

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