Patient education: improving health outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis


Kawther Ben Abdelghani
Yasmine Makhlouf
Saoussen Miladi
Hiba Boussaa
Alia Fazaa
Ahmed Laatar


Introduction: Rheumatoid arthritis is a disabling disease leading to an impaired quality of life. To avoid joint damage, innovative strategies such “educational” medical procedures are developing, involving the patient in the management of his illness.

Aim: The objective of our study was to assess the effectiveness of patient education (PE) program on quality of life and adherence in the short and medium term.

Methods: A prospective study including RA patients. The intervention consisted of sessions that lasted half a day including four workshops. The parameters studied included the quality of life evaluated by the HAQ, adherence to treatment according to Girerd’s questionnaire, fatigue evaluated by the MAF psychological state evaluated according to the HAD. We compared these results at baseline, then after 3 and 6 months of follow-up.

Results: Fifty-one patients participated in the PE program. At the end of the intervention, HAQ remained stable through the different controls with a slight improvement at 6 months. The percentage of patients with poor therapeutic compliance decreased to 33.3% at baseline to 13.7% at 3 months and to 9% at 6 months. The MAF decreased significantly from 33.1% at inclusion to 25.6% at 6 months post-intervention (p=0,001, p=0,000 respectively). HADA and HADD also decreased significantly at 3 months and 6 months.

Conclusions: Our PE program demonstrated in Tunisian RA patients an improvement in the quality of life at 6 months and a significant improvement in adherence in the short and medium term.


Rheumatoid arthritis, patient education, adherence, quality of life



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