Patients’ views and needs about systemic sclerosis and its management: a qualitative interview study

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a chronic connective-tissue disease responsible for reduced life expectancy, disability and a decreased quality of life. In order to optimize patients-physicians relationship and care strategy we aimed to survey views of patients on SSc and its management to reveal potential hurdles and improve health care strategies. METHODS: A qualitative study combined semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and a direct observation of an information session was performed between November 2008 and January 2009. RESULTS: Twenty-five patients with SSc were included. They encounter difficulties to have a clear representation of their disease. Physical, psychological, and social repercussions of SSc may lead to a psychological distress and different coping strategies, which widely differ among interviewed patients. Patients' views on their therapeutic journey and the management of their disease highlighted strong expectations about patient-physician relationship. These expectations were numerous, complex and sometimes ambivalent. Patients expected physicians to be human and attentive but also involved in research in the field and to provide psychological and affective support to help them to accept the uncertainty of disease evolution and lack of curative treatment. They also expected more individualized management, improvements in diagnosis and follow-up organization, more efforts in education and information, comprehensive behaviors and support from working colleagues and relatives, and increased funding from the health care system. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that SSc management could be optimized, particularly with more attention to the patient-practitioner relationship. Patient profiles should be more precisely defined in terms of coping strategies and treatment preferences to propose more individualized options.
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Luc Mouthon, Sophie Alami, Anne-Sophie Boisard, Benjamin Chaigne, Eric Hachulla, et al.. Patients’ views and needs about systemic sclerosis and its management: a qualitative interview study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, BioMed Central, 2017, 18 (1), pp.230. ⟨10.1186/s12891-017-1603-4⟩. ⟨inserm-02071708⟩

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