Background Receiving a diagnosis of chronic rheumatic disease has a profound impact not only on patients, but also on their spouse (life partner). These might be affected because of fear and uncertainty of a life-long illness or by potential changes in role, quality of life, and financial threats in treatment costs and lost earnings. These changes can have a profound effect on quality of life for both parties and the long term prognostic of the rheumatic patient might be influenced.
Objectives To identify the potential differences between the support offered by the life partner in the case of chronic rheumatic and shor acute diseases.
Methods A structured questionnaire was developped and applied to 51 chronic rheumatic - long term -patients (LTP) and 37 patients suffering from short term (acute) illness (STP). The activities have been done during 2013 involving both outpatients and inpatients. SPSS 19 was the software used in this case.
Results No major difference has been found between LTP and STP groups regarding age, sex ratio, level of education, access to health services and marital status. However LTPs receive less support from their life partners (p<0.05) in areas of: understandig of emotional problems, sharring the same emotional concerns, keeping the quality of intimate live, identification of new scientific information that might improve the managment of disease. On the other side the partners of LTPs are much more aware of the finaincial impact of their partner's disease.
Conclusions Our study identified a pattern addopted by the life partiners in case of chronic rheumatic diseases (LTP) that is significantly diffrent for the one of life partners of short acute diseases patients (STP). This could be the first step in the development of a communication campaign amimed to raise the quality of support the life partners are ready to offer to chronic rheumatic patients with final results in the quality of life and long term prognosis.
Disclosure of Interest None declared