Amanda Galvin

Michael J Cousins Pain Management & Research Centre

Royal North Shore Hospital, Douglas Building

T: +61 (0)2 9463 1500   |   F: +61 (0)2 9463 1050


Shaan & Geoffrey Verco, PMRI Ltd

c/- PMRI, Douglas Building

Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards

T: +61 (0)2 9929 5566  |



Pain Clinical Service Centre

Pain Management & Research Centre

Douglas Building, Royal North Shore Hospital

Reserve Road, St Leonards

T: +61 (0)2 9463 1500

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© 2017 Pain Management Research Institute Limited. All rights reserved.


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What is the Seniors ADAPT Program?

PMRC, Douglas Building, RNSH

Seniors ADAPT is a group-based, outpatient treatment program for people aged over 64 years who have moderately disabling chronic pain.

Participants must be mobile enough to get to the hospital twice a week for 4 weeks.


Seniors ADAPT helps participants learn the basics of effective self-management of ongoing pain.


It is conducted by a Clinical Psychologist, a Physiotherapist, and a Registered Nurse. All members of the treatment team have had extensive training and experience in pain management.

PMRC, Douglas Building, RNSH

Who might benefit from this program?

  • If you are over 65 years of age

  • If you have had ongoing pain for more than 3 months and your doctor has told you that you will have to learn to live with it

  • If your pain is interfering with your daily activities

  • If you are getting irritable or frustrated with your ongoing pain

  • If you would like some basic guidance on how to live with ongoing pain

  • If you are able to attend two sessions a week for 4 weeks at the Hospital

Then Seniors ADAPT could benefit you.

If you are interested in attending, you must be referred by your doctor to the Pain Management & Research Centre (PMRC) for initial assessment by our multidisciplinary team of health professionals.

If we think you are suitable, we will talk to you about the program and you can decide if you’d like to attend.

How can Seniors ADAPT help?

  • By helping you understand why your pain is persisting and your realistic options for managing your pain

  • By providing basic guidance on how you can keep active despite your pain

  • By helping you learn the coping skills needed to minimise the effects of ongoing pain on your life.

To see how, read our patient manual: Manage Your Pain.


In a study involving 140 patients, Seniors ADAPT has been found to be more effective than exercises and usual care in helping to improve participants’ levels of distressing pain, pain interference in activities, mood and unhelpful attitudes to pain. The results of our study were published in the leading international journal PAIN in 2013.

Main content of program

  • Education about pain - understanding why your pain is persisting.

  • Developing a basic exercise program for home practice.

  • Pain coping skills - to help you be as independent and active as possible, despite your ongoing pain

Participants attend the program in groups of 6-8. Each participant is helped to develop their own management plan and sets their own goals.

Time commitment

  • The program involves two 3-hour sessions (in the mornings) at the PMRC per week for four consecutive weeks (that is, 8 sessions over 4 weeks). Times and days for each group to be advised.

Before the program

  • You will meet with the team to learn about the program and what it will involve.

  • We will also contact you by phone to confirm your attendance.

  • You should obtain and read a copy of our book, Manage Your Pain, as that is the manual for the program.

  • Should you wish to reduce or cease your pain medications we can arrange an appoint-ment with the specialist who assessed you, and you can plan and manage your withdrawal schedule together.

After the program

  • We will review your progress at the clinic four weeks after the program and six months after the program.

  • Some participants may also require further individual help for a limited time, either with us or a health care provider closer to home.


Each session will include:

  • Discussion of your progress between sessions and what you have learnt

  • Educational discussions about pain

  • Review of your home exercises with the physiotherapist

  • Stretch exercises

  • Applied relaxation practice

  • Training in pain coping skills (e.g., dealing with pain flare-ups, problem solving strategies, activity pacing, dealing with stress)

  • Planning for home tasks over the coming week


Public patients attend for no charge, but those covered by accident insurance will require approval from their insurer.


The Pain Management & Research Centre at Royal North Shore Hospital is on the ground floor of the Douglas Building, about 80 metres from the front of the main hospital building. It is on Reserve Rd, St Leonards, Sydney.

Non-English Speakers

  • If you will require an interpreter during the program, please let us know.

  • Se richiedete i servizi dell'interpretatore durante il vostro tempo sil programma prego sappiamo.

  • Ako to tuma~a usluga tokom vremena na programu vas molim da nas znaju.

  • Si usted requiere los servicios del interprete durante su tiempo en el programa por favor sepamos.