A health charity is addressing the information needs of arthritis patients head on, with a series of booklets designed to provide clear, relevant and authoritative information to

Arthritis Research UK has launched a new range of patient information booklets to provide an ongoing source of information and support to arthritis patients. The range of over 80 booklets were developed following new research into patient information needs, commissioned by the charity.

Previous studies have found that patients’ retention of the information given during a consultation is often low. In one study of 151 rheumatology patients for example, total recall of information given was only 40 per cent, and this figure was even lower among the over 70s age group.

Another study found that, of the information that is recalled after a consultation, about half is remembered incorrectly. The importance of reliable information which patients can refer to after they’ve left the consultation room can therefore not be underestimated.

Arthritis Research UK’s face-to-face research supported the need for high quality arthritis information, with patients identifying the need to strike a balance between medical texts which can be weighty, technical and academic, and leaflets which can be seen to be flimsy and poorly produced, making patients feel that they’re not being taken seriously.

Features of the booklets include:

  • Straightforward – fewer words with only the necessary information included; an “at a glance” section for easy reference, making the most important points more digestible, key messages and important points highlighted throughout
  • Relevant – all information based on the most up to date evidence available
  • Authoritative – the newly written texts have been medically reviewed and lay reviewed
  • Clear – with colour photography, including pictures of symptoms and 3D illustrations
  • Inclusive – a “get involved” page to help patients who can feel isolated

“It has always been important to us to ensure that patients are well-informed with a clear understanding of their condition and the medical options available, as well as how best to manage their own health,” says professor Alan Silman, medical director of Arthritis Research UK. 

“As a practising clinician, I know how useful these booklets are as a reliable and authoritative tool to use in the consultation. They also help to facilitate shared decision making between patients and their healthcare professional.”

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