The Finnish Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Pain Management and Research started its operation in the New Children’s Hospital in early June. The centre aims to improve the quality and availability of adolescent pain management in Finland. The New Children’s Hospital Foundation donated 2.7 million euros to HUS for the establishment of the centre.
The task of the centre is to promote the treatment and access to treatment of patients suffering from difficult chronic pain as well as offer multidisciplinary help to children and young people. The pain centre offers consultation services and training to University children’s clinics and hospitals in Finland. The centre focuses on children’s pain management research, which has been somewhat overlooked in Finland and abroad.
The donation by the New Children’s Hospital Foundation will sustain the new centre and its personnel costs for the next three years. After this, HUS will take over the costs.
“The New Children’s Hospital was built to serve the whole of Finland. After the hospital opened, the foundation has been actively looking for ways to support the treatment of and research into children’s diseases in Finland. Together with other donors, we want to support children’s pain management and research,” says Chair of the New Children’s Hospital Foundation Anne Berner.
The new centre will improve the support for pain research considerably thanks to its organisation and national and international networking alone. ”Technological innovations, such as virtual reality applications, play a more significant role than before in pain management. The development of the treatment of pain in children and adolescents is also very important for families caring for their children at home. The New Children’s Hospital Foundation is committed to doing its part in promoting the inclusion and development of technological innovations as part of pain management in children and adolescents,” Berner says.
”We are very grateful for the donation. It enables us to provide more versatile pain management treatment than before. Our eyes are clearly fixed on the future and the development of pain management. There are plenty of opportunities: we will be able to utilise medical, research and technological means better than before in treating pain in children,” says Director of Department Jari Petäjä from HUS.
Treating pain in children requires special expertise
Pain in children is individual, much like in adults – some children are quicker to feel pain than others. The fact that pain manifests in different ways in children of different ages makes children’s pain special. It also makes it more difficult to assess pain.
The most common form of pain in children is acute pain, which ends on its own as the damaged tissue heals. Chronic pain in children is caused by chronic illnesses, such as rheumatism, rare diseases and cancer, for example. Patients with so-called functional pain syndrome are especially challenging to treat. Seven per cent of 10–12-year-olds and 15 per cent of 14–16-year-olds suffer from extensive pain.
”By treating pain in children and adolescents effectively we achieve tangible benefits for the patient and the treatment system, in addition to reducing human suffering. By treating pain efficiently, we shorten time spent in hospital treatment, reduce postoperative complications, reduce the risk of the transition of pain to chronicity, decrease the number of social and mental issues and reduce the use of health care services,” says Chief Physician Eija Kalso from HUS.
The steering group develops and promotes research and innovation activities as well as furthers international cooperation
A steering group has been established for the pain research centre. The foundation has appointed Chief Networking Officer Minna Komu, leading games designer Reko Ukko and Head of Research Aleksis Karme as its representatives in the steering group. HUS has appointed Director of Department Jari Petäjä, Chief Physician Eija Kalso and Docent of Development Psychology Anu-Katariina Pesonen as its representatives. The steering group controls the operation of the pain research and management centre, making sure that it furthers its tasks and objectives in terms of research and innovation activities as well as internationalisation.
The donation was made possible by the Stiftelse Brita Maria Renlund’s minne foundation, Seriously, Small Giant, the Olvi Foundation and the Association of Friends of the University Children’s Hospitals. ”The development of expertise in treating pain in children, research and the national centre for pain research are all very valuable, and the Stiftelsen Brita Maria Renlund´s minne foundation is very pleased to be able to be involved in the project from the start,” says Managing Director Gun Sandberg-Wallin. ”The children’s pain research centre is an important project for children as well as parents. It is great to be able to contribute,” says Creative Director Petri Järvilehto from Seriously.
Director of Department Jari Petäjä, tel. +358 (0)50 428 6630, firstname.lastname@example.org, HUS Children and Adolescents
Chief Physician Eija Kalso, tel. +358 (0)50 427 0609, email@example.com, HUS Leikkaussalit, teho ja kivunhoito (HUS surgical theatres, intensive care and pain management)
Project Director Anne Knaster, tel. 040 830 0600, firstname.lastname@example.org