Background Patient education (PE) is “a planned, interactive process between patients and health professionals (HPs), aimed at supporting and enabling patients to manage their life with arthritis and optimising their health and well-being” . PE is considered an integral part of the management of inflammatory arthritis (IA) and new issues such as pharmacological treatment options and the risk for developing cardiovascular diseases have increased the importance of PE interventions. Although provision of PE is assumed to be a role for all HPs, the degree of participation from different HPs in PE activities is likely to be different across European countries.
Objective The aim of the presentation is to give an overview of (1) the differences in the delivery of PE and (2) the involvement of HPs across Europe and discuss possible reasons for this and what could be done to improve the standards of PE.
Discussion Determinants for PE provision and HPs' involvement are found on different levels: a) The various health care systems, with its available financial and structural resources; b) The education of HPs in European countries that take place in different systems and may define the status of the HPs, their competencies and availability and ultimately their professional roles; c) The wide variations in the roles of rheumatology HPs, which translate into large variability in HPs' involvement in PE activities; and d) The wide variations in the roles of the patients in the different countries. In some countries, patients are considered as PE receivers and HPs as the experts, with main focus of knowledge delivery. In other countries, patients are actively involved and considered as experts in living with the disease and its associated challenges and thus the HPs aim to facilitate the patients' adjustments in living with their condition, using multi-professional approaches and new technology interactively.
Conclusions There is a need to define standards for the delivery of PE in patients with IA in Europe. An important step towards this aim may be the development of evidence-based recommendations for PE. However, the successful implementation of such recommendations across Europe may depend on knowledge about the current status of the PE activities and the involvement of HPs in the different countries.
Task Force definition of patient education, EULAR recommendations/points to consider for patient education of people with inflammatory arthritis. Amsterdam, July 2013
Stamm T, Hill J. Extended roles of non-physician health professionals and innovative models of care within Europe: results from a web-based survey. Musculoskeletal Care. 2011 Jun;9(2):93-101.
Disclosure of Interest None declared