What information, skills and support do patients need to become 'activated' in their healthcare?

Disease - Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis

Lead applicant - Assistant Professor Emma Dures

Organisation - University of the West of England

Type of grant - PhD Scholarship

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £146,804.34

Start date - 1 October 2016

Reference - 20971

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

Patients who are well informed about their condition, who feel confident about collaborating during consultations (e.g. sharing in decisions) and managing symptoms in their daily lives (e.g. pacing and planning) are described as activated. These patients are more likely to be satisfied with care, take treatments as prescribed and seek help when it is needed, compared to less activated patients. The aim of this research is to understand what leads patients with inflammatory arthritis to become activated and to investigate whether it is possible to increase patient activation.

Why is this research important?

Patients with inflammatory arthritis face the challenge of making long term practical and emotional changes to deal with their disease. Patients who are more activated in their healthcare during medical consultations and in daily life often manage these challenges better than those who are less engaged and proactive.

Interviews will be conducted with patients with inflammatory arthritis to understand the personal and practical factors that influence activation. Combined with patient focus groups, information from these interviews will be used to design a brief training programme aimed at increasing activation.

How will the findings benefit patients?

Activation has been identified as important by national policy makers and patient groups because it can improve patients' symptoms and satisfaction with care. Similar training programmes have been used to successfully increase activation in patients with diabetes, and it is hoped that this research will lead to a programme which can be widely used by patients with inflammatory arthritis.