The organization and utilization of chronic pain health services for Aboriginal and Anglo-Canadians

Chronic pain is a relatively common phenomenon that typically results in considerable health services use as well as significant hardship for the sufferer. Experts generally agree that chronic pain is often poorly managed leading to poor quality of life for the sufferer. Additionally, most experts suggest that access to appropriate chronic pain expertise is a major contributor to poor outcomes in the sufferer despite the existence of a variety of pain management programs/services. Because poorly managed chronic pain is so common, a critical look at chronic pain management services is warranted. Canadian health services must meet the needs of diverse Canadian populations and specialized services have been developed for some ethno-cultural groups. While all Canadian people may experience difficulties accessing health services, some are at a special disadvantage due to unfamiliarity or lack of comfort with our current system. Aboriginal-Canadians, who have historically had difficulties with access to the health care system, have been identified as a population at a special disadvantage. In this study I will speak with Aboriginal and Anglo-Canadian chronic pain sufferers and their health care providers. In addition I will observe how patients and the health professionals who look after them interact with one another. I will also examine materials that are written about current pain management programs and services. This study will lead to recommendations for improvements in the health services for chronic pain for these two populations.