A new iPhone app called Pain Squad is helping kids with cancer fight pain, by helping them track how much pain they have, how long it lasts, where it hurts and what helps to keep it in check.
Each year in Canada, 1,400 children are diagnosed with cancer and they have to fight both the disease as well as the pain associated with the disease and its treatment. Written journals can be onerous for kids to fill out twice a day when they are not feeling well after chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
Pain Squad is fun and easier to use with its touchscreen interface. Patients win promotions to higher ranks like “Sergeant” and “Captain” as they use the app on a regular basis to track their pain. Actors from two Canadian police shows, Flashpoint and Rookie Blue, are featured in encouraging videos that are unlocked after kids earn a promotion to the next rank.
Pain Squad empowers kids to understand and participate in the management of their own pain. At the same time, it provides a wealth of data to researchers, physicians and nurse practitioners to learn more about what works best to help their patients.
“We made it easier for kids and teens to track their pain symptoms by using technology that they’re familiar with. Keeping an iPhone pain diary is not only less work, but fun, too. Pain Squad is unique because while it helps patients keep track of their own symptoms, it also contributes to research by collecting data on cancer pain. Having solid information on the prevalence and severity of pain and the effectiveness of treatment will allow us to better manage pain and ultimately help improve the quality of life for our patients.” Dr. Jennifer Stinson, Scientist and Nurse Practitioner in the Chronic Pain Program, SickKids.
Developed by researchers at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto and marketing communications agency Cundari, the third phase of the app is currently being tested in three other Canadian paediatric oncology hospitals. The goal is to roll the app out to all Canadian youth with cancer to improve their pain management and quality of life as they undergo treatment.
Check out this video to see Pain Squad in action.