Smart phone-based pain assessment and monitoring application developer PainChek Ltd (ASX: PCK) has formed a partnership with Nulsen Group, its first with a disability services provider.
The partners will undertake a six-month trial of PainChek’s digital pain assessment app in National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants across five shared residential homes.
The trial will allow both partners to validate PainChek’s ability to improve the detection of pain in individuals with complex disabilities, particularly when a change of behaviour is detected or an individual is visibly distressed.
In addition, participant conditions are able to be more effectively managed by the use of PainChek — enhancing pain assessment and improving quality of life for the most vulnerable people with complex disabilities.
As a leading community and disability services provider in Western Australia, Nulsen Group provides care and support to more than 4,000 Australians with complex needs. It empowers people to live their best life with a range of disability, outcare, and therapy services.
Nulsen Group CEO, Gordon Trewern, said PainChek will be used by nurses, allied health professionals, management and support workers across the five Nulsen Group homes. The success of the trial will be evaluated by a number of quantitative and qualitative factors.
PainChek will generate revenue from the trial at its standard license rates, though the amount to be received as part of the trial is not expected to be material.
Those with disabilities who are unable to express their pain are the most vulnerable in our society for the mis- identification or non-identification of pain,” Mr Trewern said.
“PainChek allows us to trial a new way that could help the disability support sector to further improve their services, and outcomes for these most vulnerable people.”
PainChek is an observational pain assessment app for mobile devices, which utilises artificial intelligence (facial recognition and analysis) in combination with smart automation, to provide a valid, reliable and accurate means of assessing pain.
To date, PainChek technology has predominantly been rolled out for individuals living with dementia and cognitive impairments in an aged care setting, and is currently the most widely used digital healthcare tool in Australian residential aged care facilities.
PainChek CEO Philip Daffas said the company is also exploring additional uses of the digital pain assessment technology in home care, hospitals, patients with delirium, and with pre-verbal children.
“PainChek is delighted to work with innovative providers across all healthcare settings. Nulsen Group has had the vision to bring PainChek to a new cohort: those living with disabilities who are unable to reliably report their own pain,” Mr Daffas said.
“Research into pain assessment in the disability market is ongoing, and we are excited to be able to contribute to an improved quality of life for people living with a disability.”
According to the Federal Government, around 4.3 million Australians have a disability.
Those living with a disability have some of the highest rates of chronic pain in the community, with one in four people with a profound disability experiencing severe pain and two in three people with a spinal cord injury affected by ongoing pain.
However, there are challenges in pain assessment and management among individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities — including those with conditions associated with physical, learning, language, behavioural, and/or intellectual impairment, where pain is a common and debilitating secondary condition compromising functional abilities and quality of life.