Pain Management Unit outpatient services at Central Adelaide

The Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) Pain Management Unit is an outpatient multidisciplinary service that provides assessment, treatment and a management plan for patients with persistent pain. The service comprises specialist pain clinicians working as an integrated team to address the physical and psycho-social factors that may impact on the persistence of pain and its consequent disability.

The Pain Management Unit provides an outpatient services for patients and an inpatient consultation service. Services are also provided to patients referred from rural and remote areas.

Priority is given to those with pain arising from malignancy.

Contact details and location

Level 2B
North-east building
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital
28 Woodville Rd, Woodville South, SA 5011

Telephone: (08) 8222 7826 

Email: CALHNPainUnit@sa.gov.au

Pain management staff

Pain Medicine specialists all have a post graduate medical qualification in General Practice, Rehabilitation Medicine, Psychiatry or Anaesthesia and have then further specialised in Pain Medicine. Allied health and nursing members of the team all have experience in pain management and education.

Head of Unit - Dr Penny Briscoe

Deputy Head of Unit - Dr Tim Semple

Pain Medicine Specialists:

  • Dr Robyn Campbell
  • Dr Brenda Cassidy
  • Dr Gary Clothier
  • Dr Meredith Craigie
  • Dr Anthony Davis
  • Dr Matthew Green
  • Dr Bruce Rounsefell
  • Associate Professor Roelof Van Wijk
  • Associate Professor Andrew Zacest

Senior Clinical Psychologist:

  • Ms Anne Burke
  • Ms Michelle Martin
  • Clinical Psychologists
  • Ms Annie Hopkins
  • Mr Warwick Lloyd

Physiotherapist - Ms Sandra Kazubiernis

Clinical Service Consultant- Ms Julie Lanzendorfer

Senior Administrative Office - Ms Jane Agalidis

Clinical services

Services provided are:

  • Outpatient clinic consultations
  • Ward inpatient consultations.

Pain Management Unit priorities

Category 1 — 1 to 2 days wait time

Category 2   Likely to be seen within 6 to 8 weeks

Category 3   Likely to be seen within 3 to 4 months

Category  4   Likely to be seen within 24 to 36months.

Clinical urgency

Pain Management Unit priorities are based on clinical urgency as displayed below:

Urgent priority

Examples  cancer pain

Semi urgent priority

Acute painful conditions not responding to treatment with risk of deterioration or significant impairment of quality of life. Patients in whom it is believed a procedure may be beneficial as either a diagnostic or therapeutic modality.

Examples:

  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Post herpetic neuralgia
  • Acute radicular pain.

Intermediate priority

Painful condition with intermediate duration of symptoms and progression/deterioration and risk of increasing function impairment.

Examples:

  • Neuropathic pain conditions
  • Post-surgery pain
  • Phantom limb pain
  • Elderly patients
  • Adolescents.

Routine priority

Persistent long-term pain condition where rapid progression/deterioration is unlikely, maintenance treatment has been started or review-re-assessment has become necessary.

Examples:

  • Headaches
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Non specific low back pain
  • Medication issues.

GP information

Pain Management Unit outpatients

A written referral to the Pain Management Unit is required from either a general practitioner or specialist practitioner.

Due to the complexity of pain presentations and the need to engage with the general practitioners, referrals for outpatient appointments from the Emergency Department will not be accepted.

Once the Pain Management Unit has received the referral, the medical staff will prioritise the referral based on the information provided.

The Pain Management Unit takes a multi-disciplinary approach to working with the patient to help manage their condition.Treatment may include physical and psychological modalities including:-

Medications

  • Analgesics
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsants

Interventional techniques

  • TENS
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Facet joints injections
  • Neurolytic blocks
  • Radiofrequency facet denervation procedures
  • Spinal cord stimulators
  • Intrathecal drug delivery system implants.

Physical therapy

  • Physical exercise

Psychological therapies

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Mindfulness approaches
  • Relaxation
  • Group based therapies
  • Education.

Clinical psychology

  • The CALHN Clinical Psychology service in the Pain Management Unit provides a specialist service including assessment, treatment and management planning, as well as group and individual therapy to patients and their families.
  • The service also provides consultation to other members of staff and outside agencies in relation to psychological aspects of chronic pain and chronic pain management.

Referral process

All referrals to the Pain Management Unit including those urgently requiring consultation, must be in writing and contain the maximum data to ensure timely and appropriate decision making.

When referring patients to the Pain Management Unit, it is preferred that the referrer use the following:

Fax referral to us

To make a referral:

Telephone: (08) 8222 7826

Fax: (08) 8222 7949

Email: CALHNPainUnit@sa.gov.au

Consider referral when the patient has persistent pain** and:

  • all reasonable investigations have been completed
  • reasonable and accessible management in the primary care sector has been tried with insufficient success
  • pain has significant impact on some aspects of life – sleep, self-care, mobility, work or school attendance, recreation, relationships and/or emotions.

Referrals are particularly encouraged when the patient has:

  • exacerbations of persistent pain that resulted in an Emergency Department presentation or hospital admission
  • complex psychosocial influences on pain behaviour requiring specialised assessment and care
  • significant pain in the setting of current or past history of addiction or prescribed medication use that seem to be complicating current management (such as an escalating opioid requirement)
  • difficult to control neuropathic pain
  • difficult to control cancer pain.

** Persistent pain is constant, and daily for a period of 3 months or more over the previous 6 months, or where the natural history of the painful condition suggests this is likely to be the case. This includes episodic severe pain; e.g. headache which interferes with daily life.

Waiting time for an appointment

The waiting time for appointment will vary and be dependent on the demand for this service and the medical urgency of the patient’s condition.

Once referred and triaged, the patient will be sent a questionnaire which they need to fill out and return prior to an appointment being made.

Recognising the possible delay to the first appointment, patients on the waiting list will be sent an invitation to attend an Introductory Pain Information Lecture. This looks at explaining the appropriate multidisciplinary approach to Pain Management and informs patients of community services and information available to use while they are waiting. It will also outline the appropriate usage of medication.

This lecture is compulsory unless the general practitioner discusses with one of the Pain Specialists why it is not appropriate.

The Pain Management Unit does not provide second opinions for patients who have previously been managed by other Pain Management Units. These patients should be re-referred back to the original Pain Management Unit.

Should changes occur to a patient’s medical condition during the waiting time for an appointment, referrers should send updated clinical information or contact the Pain Management Unit on (08) 8222 7826.

General Practitioners are always welcome to telephone the Pain Management Unit for advice.

Clinical information sheets

The following is a list of referral material and information sheets for CALHN Pain Management Unit outpatients:

Psychology services

Patient information

How to access this service

Referral from your GP

You need a referral letter from your GP or medical practitioner to access this service.

Your doctor will need to fax your referral letter to us. We will be in contact with you within clinically recommended times, depending on waiting list length. If there is no waiting list, you will receive an appointment booking letter or we will contact you to arrange a suitable time.

Information sheets

Please refer to the information sheets below for information regarding the outpatient service.

Psychology

Useful links for further information