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Catholic Homes wins first WA grant for PainChek®

Catholic Homes is the first Western Australian provider to win a grant for PainChek®, the world's first smart phone pain assessement tool. 

Using facial recognition technology on a smart phone, the PainChek® app is able to automatically detect if someone is in pain by holding the phone up to their face and asking a series of questions.

Pain is extremely common in aged care but often goes undetected and untreated as it’s difficult to assess. This ground breaking technology has regulatory clearance in Australia and Europe and is revolutionary for those who can’t articulate their pain level for themselves. “This app is a game changer, particularly for those with dementia or unable to verbalise their pain,” says Michelle Barrow, Catholic Homes’ Executive Manager of Residential Care. “It’s another tool in our arsenal and ensures we recognise pain in all its forms. This in turn will lead to better treatment of pain and facilitate a more accurate measurement of the effectiveness of treatments.”

Catholic Homes’ Castledare Village in Wilson will be the first site to go live and PainChek® will be rolled out to the organisation’s other six sites in 2020. “It’s exceptionally simple to use and all staff will be trained in its use,” says Michelle.

Dementia Australia Research Foundation is the national peak body for people living with dementia at all ages and initially funded the technology and has since received a $5m investment from the Federal Government. The technology was developed at Curtin University and Dementia Support Australia has been trialling the technology for 18 months with good results.

An estimated 438,000 people live with dementia in Australia and this number is projected to reach almost 1.1 million by 2058, and globally 50 million people live with dementia. With PainChek® the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia can be reduced by improving medication management, thus empowering all caregivers to accurately assess and manage pain.

With the care model ‘Care with Purpose’ and based on Montessori principles, Catholic Homes has been caring for ageing Western Australians for more than 50 years and proudly advocates its core Values of Joy, Love and Hospitality.

PainChek® is a smart device technology that gives a voice to residents who have difficulty in verbalising their pain. Catholic Homes is not-for-profit and is thrilled to be the first Western Australian aged care provider to receive a grant to implement PainChek®.