Background Patient education (PE) is a planned interactive process between patients and health professionals, aimed at supporting and enabling patients to manage their life with arthritis and optimising their health and well-being. Patient education is an integral part of the management of inflammatory arthritis (IA) in many European countries. Because activities concerning patient education do differ across European countries, the need, preferences and expectations among patients, can differ as well. Though challenging, it may be worthwhile to stimulate further research to pursue outcomes that will benefit the education of patients with IA.
Objective The aim of this presentation is to give insight into the needs, expectations and preferences of patients with IA concerning patient education. Focusgroups, individual interviews and cross sectional surveys have been examined in order to gather different themes relating to patient education, which are considered as important by the patients. Personal reflections from the patient perspective will be included.
Results Research questions were defined by a multidisciplinary Task Force to guide a systematic review, in order to develop recommendations for people with IA to core standards for patient education across Europe. One of the research questions was specifically about the needs, expectations and preferences of patients in regard to patient education. Themes related to life, to support, to disease management and to behaviour change were selected. Several issues of information needs were found in cross-sectional surveys, as well as preferred sources of information, such as information provided by the health-professional or information offered online.
Discussion High levels of disease knowledge by the patient were positively associated with the involvement of the patient regarding his treatment. Patient education mostly enables the patient to gain knowledge about his condition, therefore more insight in how to stay independent and pursue a “normal” life and how to self manage in order to be involved as a partner in the treatment process. It is debatable at what time (in the disease course) patient education is likely to produce maximum effects, and what kind of information should be shared with the patient and with his family/partner.
Patient education should be provided by skilled health professionals, but patient education can also be delivered by expert patients (patients with expertise to teach fellow patients about how to be an involved partner in the management of their condition). Which mode of delivery of patient education is suitable for an individual patient, might differ. Not only in individual cases, but also depending on (resources of) the country in which the patient lives. Although the availability of fulfilling the needs, preferences and expectations of patient education can be different for patients with IA across countries in Europe, the actual needs, preferences and expectations of the patient himself, may not be restricted by boundaries. Next to geographical differences and the availability of resources to fulfill the patients' needs, expectations and preferences, other factors such as age, disease activity and disease duration can play a role of importance in regard to the need for patient education. This presentation will provide information of the needs, expectations and preferences of the patients in Europe, disregarding the status quo of their available health system, but focussing on the themes which will be acknowledged and desired by most patients living with IA.
Disclosure of Interest None declared