Beyond the Pain (BTP)

BTP was developed in collaboration with CITRA’s affiliate, the Translational Research Institute for Pain in Later Life (TRIPLL), and the Central Harlem Senior Citizen’s Center. BTP is an educational and group-based pain management program for older adults with chronic pain. Over the course of several training sessions, participants learn self-help techniques and they form a community of support. BTP should be run by senior services organizations and peer leaders familiar with chronic pain management.

Goals & Objectives of the Program

An estimated 60-75% of older adults report some persistent pain. Untreated pain in older adults can lead to serious health consequences, such as depression, anxiety, sleep impairment, and social isolation. The goal of the BTP Program is to teach older adults how to safely treat their chronic pain in order to improve their overall health and social engagement.

Structure of the Program

BTP is structured as a 14-week program for older adults with chronic pain, helping them to learn and explore a range of self-management techniques while forming a community of support. The sections are arranged in a specific order that allows each one to build on the last. It is possible to modify the program to fit the needs of the participants, such as more or less physical activity. By the end of Week 2, facilitators should recruit and train peer leaders to help lead exercises and other activities.

Benefits of the Program

The BTP Program provides participants with a variety of skills and techniques that they can utilize to self-manage their pain, such as meditation, exercise, dance, music, and other non-pharmacologic therapies. Participants also benefit from the community of support formed by the peer-led support group. Ultimately, this helps improve participants’ health, well-being, and social integration.

Planning & Implementing the Program

CITRA and TRIPLL created a manual for facilitators to conduct the BTP Program in their own communities. The manual provides an overview of the goals and activities of the program and describes all the exercises in detail. It also includes handouts and other resources and materials designed to help with the delivery of the program. BTP should be run by facilitators who have experience conducting educational programs with older adults and familiarity with chronic pain management. Facilitators are responsible for recruiting and training peer leaders to help with the delivery of the program.

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