Background Biologics are still considered by patients as a new and partially enigmatic tool for management of rheumatic diseases.
Objectives The study was designed to evaluate educational needs and sources of knowledge in patients with rheumatic diseases treated with biologics.
Methods Anonymous questionnaires were distributed in 23 Polish rheumatological centers involved in the treatment, 1231 questionnaires were used for analysis. Responses were received from 606 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, 427 with ankylosing spondylitis, 117 psoriatic arthritis, and 62 adult patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (in whom administration of the drugs had been introduced before they were 18-year-old), as well as 19 ones receiving the drugs due to other musculoskeletal disorders. The investigated group constituted about one-fifth of all rheumatic patients on biologics in Poland.
Results Almost all the patients had learnt for the first time on biologics from their rheumatologist (93%). Few only patients had got such data from internet or from other patients. Likewise, most of the patients got majority of educational data on treatment with biologics from rheumatologist who was supervising the therapy (82%). Remaining sources included internet (8%) and other patients (5%). Relative low number of patients was educated by nurses (2%). Most of the patients (87%) were looking for more details on biological treatment. The patients with rheumatic disease lasting less than 10 yrs. were more interested in the management than those suffering longer. Most of the patients (94%) considered their rheumatologist as the main person responsible for their education on biologics. There was no difference between patients with various rheumatic diseases as well as no difference was found between female and male patients. Biological treatment attracted more interest in younger than older patients.
Conclusions Education is still a challenge in patients receiving biologics. Most of the patients represented traditional attitude to health education, expecting almost all educational data to be provided by their physician. We were surprised that role of the nurses was found to be rather low. An increase in role of nurses seems to be the future aim of the educational efforts in Polish rheumatology.
Disclosure of Interest None declared