When I first moved from the west coast, people on the east coast invariably responded with “why on earth would you leave the ocean and mountains” or “ah, the crunchy granola, laid-back west coasters”. People from the west coast invariably responded with “why on earth would you leave the ocean and mountains” or “ah, the cold and distant east coasters”.
Leaving the ocean and mountains aside for the moment … because I can always go back and visit … what struck me was the characterization of the people from the different coasts of Canada. I can’t say there isn’t something to the judgmental comments. However, it seems to me such an incomplete and superficial assessment.
Until I went looking for a chronic pain resource …
Whether it’s looking for information, support, how to get involved, or additional resources, what you get depends on where you look, but it shouldn’t depend on where you live. At least, not in Canada.
Take a look at these chronic pain sites: pain.bc and ontariopainfoundation.ca to see what I’m getting at.
When I evaluate a resource, I ask three things. Is it Approachable? Is it Appropriate? Is it Adaptable? What I’m really asking is: Is it Patient-friendly, Useful, and Usable?
Is It Approachable / Patient-friendly?
Let’s be honest, first impressions are important. The home page for pain.bc has a photo of a person and the caption “Changing Pain. Changing Minds.” Right off the bat, I’m engaged.
The ontariopainfoundation.ca home page has its name, a logo I can’t understand, and begins with information about migraine headaches. There is a caption which reads “Helping Canada Conquer Pain” which is good except the font is so small it is completely lost. Right off the bat, I’m wondering if I’m at the right place.
Is It Appropriate / Useful?
The pain.bc site is crisp. It is clear. There is no doubt that there are three options: For those in chronic pain, For healthcare providers, and Get involved. When I select the option for me (For those in chronic pain), the information is appropriate: self-management, support groups, and recommended resources.
As for the ontariopainfoundation.ca site, top level options include: About, Mission, Events, Board of Directors, Advisory Council, and Contact. Scrolling after migraine headaches, there are several small options which may be of interest. However, the information consists of a few short paragraphs including description, onset, and typical treatment options. I already know this about my disease and I still have no information on chronic pain.
Is It Adaptable / Usable?
The pain.bc site looks to be a resource geared equally towards patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. The ontariopainfoundation.ca site is both poorly organized and unevenly populated with information.
Overall, from the graphic on the home page, to the ease with which you can find a variety of information, to the completeness of that information, to the language used, one thing is clear: I would recommend only the pain.bc site.
So, it got me thinking: Was there something to the provincial characterization after all?
No question, when I first moved here, I found east coasters cooler, a little distant even. And, no question, west coasters seem a lot more laid-back in comparison. Are the apparent different mindsets responsible for the vastly different characteristics of these sites?
Then I gave my head a shake.
Going down that road wasn’t going to answer my original question, because it’s not about the differences. It’s about the similarities.
We need resources for chronic pain. Do we need a resource for chronic pain in each province? How different is chronic pain in each province?
The question I want people to be asking is: Are the currently available resources receiving funding? Then, I would ask: What is the basis for receiving funding for such a resource?
We should get the best site to use; not just the one that our province provides. Remember, chronic pain doesn’t give a rat’s ass about which province you live in.
So, it doesn’t matter where I used to live or where I live now. One thing is for certain: I’ll use the chronic pain site from the west coast because it’s the best resource. So should you.