‘Emotional support’ needed for RA patients making treatment decisions
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medwireNews: Study findings highlight the need to address negative feelings related to treatment decisions among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
In a survey of 48 patients aged 36–90 years, Yomei Shaw (University of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, USA) and colleagues found that 29% of participants reported resisting medication at some point in time.
While the desire to return to a “normal” life and fear of future disability were identified as drivers of patients’ decisions to accept treatment regimens, fear of medications, maintaining control over health, denial of “being a sick person,” disappointment with treatment, and feeling overwhelmed by the decision process were all associated with resisting recommended treatment.
“Feelings in response to experiences and information played a major role in how patients weighed the benefits and costs of treatment options,” write the researchers in Arthritis Care & Research.
Interventions to address negative feelings “may promote acceptance of recommended therapies and develop patients’ confidence in navigating treatment decisions,” they believe.
And the team concludes: “Physicians, as patients’ trusted advisors regarding illness and treatment, are in an ideal position to provide such emotional support.”
By Claire Barnard
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