Background There is a common situation when patients diagnosed with rheumatic disease haven't enough knowledge about their illness. It makes more difficult to accept their disease and cope with it in everyday lives. Limited access to rheumatologist, lack of time for additional questions during a medical consultation are the burden of understanding of rheumatic disease by patients.
Patients' education is one of the most important aim for associations of people with rheumatic diseases. For this reason they organize lectures and meetings with health professionals from many years. In Poland most of these meetings are held without the official support of scientific institutions and medical facilities. The situation has changed.
In March 2013 Institute of Rheumatology started a new initiative for people with rheumatic diseases and their relatives – “Thursday meetings with rheumatology”. Those meetings are reccuring educational workshops organize in order to increase the level of knowledge about rheumatic diseases. The additional aim of that initiative is to support efforts of associations of people with rheumatic diseases in this area.
Objectives Aim of initiative is to provide high-quality knowledge to people with rheumatic diseases. The basic assumption is to use a simple language and vocabulary in order to present expert information.The access to lectures is open for all who want participate.
Methods Every last Thursday of the month (except summer holidays) people with rheumatic diseases and their relatives are invited for two lectures – every 45 minutes. Topics of lectures are varied and cover different fields of life. Lecturers are health professionals, representatives of caregivers for disabled people. The program is prepared twice per year (for 6 months ahead). The workshop program and other organizational information are accessible on website and by leaflets and posters. Associations of rheumatic people also involved in workshops promotions. Lectures are organized by Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion of Institute. Participants should register themselves by phone or e-mail. The contact details are next used to invite them for the next workshop.
During the meeting participants receive summary from the last workshop - those documents are also accessible on website of Institute of Rheumatology. Participants also receive the evaluation form.
Results The new initiative was met with interest of people with rheumatic diseases and their relatives. There are 30-70 participants in every meeting. The number of people increase from meeting to meeting.
Conclusions The new initiative of Institute of Rheumatology is an example of good co-operation between health professionals and people with rheumatic diseases. It also presents how to educate patients giving them good quality of knowledge without extra costs (all lecturers are volunteers).
In today's world where access to information has ceased to be a problem (eg. Dr Google), the key challenge is to ensure that patients have access to high quality information and education. The presented initiative fully implements these assumptions.
Disclosure of Interest None declared