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Arthritis patients want more support

A doctor examines the joints in a man's hand.
A doctor examines the joints in a man's hand.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

People suffering from inflammatory arthritis want better psychological and emotional support, according to a study from the University of the West of England Bristol (UWE Bristol). Patients in the study want help with the "impact of long term pain and tiredness" from arthritis.

“Patients have told us that psychological and emotional support is important and they would like help from rheumatology specialists to cope with the impact of living with arthritis. Therefore our research will now focus on supporting teams to acquire the skills and resources necessary to provide psychological and emotional support to improve quality of life for patients.” said Dr Emma Dures, the lead researcher.

Inflammatory arthritis is different from the "wear and tear" type of arthritis that affects joints as people age. This arthritis is called osteoarthritis. The symptoms of osteoarthritis arthritis are usually limited to the particular joint or joints affected by arthritis.

Inflammatory arthritis refers to disorders in which a person's immune system attacks their joints. Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis are types of inflammatory arthritis. Symptoms of inflammatory arthritis include joint pain and swelling, fatigue and stiffness. Both rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis are lifelong conditions.

For this study, researchers surveyed 1,200 arthritis patients about the services and supports they receive. In addition, researchers asked patients about the types of services they want in the future. Some of the study's findings are:

  • 97 percent of patients want continuous psychological support starting from the time of their diagnoses
  • Two thirds of patients want access to "self-management"clinics
  • Patients also want help with aspects of their lives affected by arthritis including their relationships and work lives

“It can be physically and emotionally distressing for patients who develop an inflammatory arthritis. There is clearly a huge unmet need for people with inflammatory arthritis, and more psychological support would improve the quality of their lives. All rheumatology services should provide access to professional psychological support." said Dr Chris Deighton, President of the British Society for Rheumatology.

The study, Psychological support for inflammatory arthritis: what do patients get and what would they like?, will be presented at the conference Rheumatology 2014.


Arthritis patients want more psychological and emotional support

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

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