This Open Learning Environment will develop your understanding about pain and its impact on society. It is designed for a broad audience, but it will be particularly interesting for those studying health, law, psychology, business, ethics, economics, science or social science, as well as anyone who has personally experienced, or knows someone living with, persisting pain. Specifically, this OLE explores the 1) complex and individual-specific nature of pain, 2) impact of pain on society, 3) roles of culture, gender, and life-stages in the pain experience, and 4) ethical and legal considerations for its management. Why is chronic pain important? It is a major, but strangely, unrecognised health problem. Persisting or chronic pain affects around 1 in 5 people in Australia. A global research initiative on chronic diseases has identified Chronic Low Back Pain as the most disabling condition (on the planet) in years lived with disability (Lancet, 2012). It may not end your life but it can end your enjoyment of life. In terms of costs, there are major direct (e. g. health care, work) and indirect costs (e. g. quality of life) to individuals, families, and society generally. The predicament of those with chronic pain can be complicated by social factors, including medico-legal and insurance uncertainties, as well as by common treatments (e. g. opioids). Unfortunately, ignorance of chronic pain and its appropriate treatment is widespread across the community broadly, and the growing opioid epidemic is a clear example of the problem. This ignorance represents a major barrier to helping chronic pain sufferers.
This OLE is delivered fully online. You engage with the module content and discussion activities on a weekly basis. At the end of each module you complete a formative quiz in order to progress to the next module. It is anticipated that each module will require the equivalent of 4-5 hours independent study and 1-2 hours collaborative study via the discussion board (initiating, reading and responding to discussion posts).
(50%) Online Discussion, (50%) Written Assignment
No text books will be required. A number of core readings will be sourced and be made available via the e-Reserve in the library.