Haywood Foundation Research: Keeping safe and well: Reducing treatment burden in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

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haywood news

Researchers: Ryan S, Paskins Z, Chew-Graham C, Manning F and Bullock L.

Funding: General Nursing Council Trust for England and Wales £39,106.

What did the study set out to do?

The aim of this study was to understand the work involved for people with rheumatoid arthritis and their family members when attending for drug monitoring. 13 people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and 3 family members took part in a telephone interview from July 2021 to January 2022.

What were find?

  1. People were happy to attend for drug monitoring as they viewed their medicines as important to reduce their symptoms.
  2. Drug monitoring, focused on more than drug safety, providing the opportunity for people with rheumatoid arthritis to share concerns about their treatment and condition.
  3. The work (referred to as treatment burden) for the person with RA included making appointments and the time and cost required to travel and park at drug monitor locations. The input of family members often reduced the burden on the individual by assisting with travel requirements, but this increased the burden on the family member as it often impacted on their job. 
  4. The work involved for people with RA and family members in attending for drug monitoring may go unrecognised unless it is discussed when medication is started.

What are the key take home messages from this research?

  1. Access to flexible appointment times and monitoring locations could reduce the amount of work patients and family members are required to do.
  2. When starting medication, the potential for treatment burden needs to be discussed.
  3. Where treatment burden is a concern, regular contact with a nurse may be helpful to assess whether the work required remains manageable.

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