Background Patient education is a recommended part of the management of rheumatic diseases but knowledge is scarce concerning what educational needs that are most important from the patient's point of view.
Objectives The aim was to evaluate what educational needs individuals with spondyloarthritis (SpA) reported to better manage their disease. Also to study if educational needs differ between men and women.
Methods In 2011 patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS, n=250) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA, n=250) were randomly chosen from a register at a specialist rheumatology clinic in a southwest region in Sweden. All patients identified were asked to answer to a postal survey. The survey included the ENAT (Educational Needs Assessment Tool) to assess educational needs of the patients. The questionnaire included 39 questions (rated as not at all important - extremely important) including seven domains measuring specific aspects of educational needs; managing pain (score 0-24), movements (0-20), feelings (0-16), disease process (0-28), treatment from health professionals (0-28), self-help (0-24) and support from others (0-16), with a total score 0-156. Descriptive data and difference needs between men and women were calculated using Chi-2-test and t-test.
Results A total of 106 patients with AS (67% men) and 89 patients with PsA (40% men) responded and were included in the analyses. Mean age (SD) was 54 (13) years for AS and 58 (13) years for PsA. The individuals had a mean disease duration of 24 (range 2-52) years and 17 (3-42) years for AS and PsA patients respectively. In the question whether the patients wanted information to manage their rheumatic disease 43% (AS) and 45% (PsA) answered yes with no significant differences between the sexes. Educational needs differed in AS patients stratified on sex in the domains for pain and self-help and in PsA patients in the domains for pain and movements where women reported more extensive educational needs (Table 1).
Conclusions There are extensive educational needs in patients with SpA, particularly in aspects of managing pain, movements and self-help. Almost half of the individuals wanted more information to make life easier while living with the disease. There is generally an increased need for information in women which should be considered in the clinical routine.
Disclosure of Interest None declared