Date: Friday, November 6, 2020
Session Type: Poster Session A
Session Time: 9:00AM-11:00AM
Background/Purpose: Rheumatologists consider physical activity (PA) to be an important goal in the care for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, there are very few studies on patients’ perceptions of and expectations on the rheumatologist’s role in the advising of PA practice.
The objective of this study was to describe the practice of PA in RA patients, in particular their perception of rheumatologist recommendations to engage in PA.
Methods: An online survey was conducted among French RA patients on Carenity.com, an online patient community. The survey was available from January 17th to February 25th, 2019. To ensure RA diagnosis, only patients who had declared being treated with at least one Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drug were included in the analysis.
Results: 308 patients participated in the study, 89% women; average age 53 years old (SD: 11.0); average time since RA diagnosis 9 years; 68% of patients were on methotrexate, 37% on biologics and 5% on JAK inhibitors.
97% of patients reported that they were engaged in a PA: domestic activities (77%), active transportation (i.e. walking or cycling) (73%), and sports (36%). However, 74% of patients reported a decrease in their PA level (both frequency and intensity) since their RA diagnosis.
Fatigue (64%), pain (54%) and lack of mobility (38%) were the main barriers to PA practice. Physician advice plays an important role in patients’ motivation to engage in PA. In fact, after beneficial effects on mood (69%) and condition (44%), physician’s advice (24%) was the third main motivation to engage in PA.
Physicians prescribed physiotherapy for 55% of patients. Despite the important role of doctors in patients’ motivation, only 38% of patients were asked about their PA practice by their physician, 34% received advice and 9% were referred to PA sessions by their physician.
Moreover, half of the patients believed their rheumatologist did not know what type of PA to recommend in their case (median: 5.0/10, with 10=”Totally agree”); a quarter of patients felt that their rheumatologist had limited knowledge of the impact of PA practice on joints and were not able to answer their questions on PA (third quartile: 5.0/10, with 10= “Totally agree”).
When asked about their expectations regarding possible support in the practice of PA, patients spontaneously mentioned personalized advice/information and easier access to sport classes or specialized equipment. Brochures on recommended activities, exercise videos and brochures on the benefits of PA practice were considered useful by 52%, 45% and 42% of patients respectively.
Conclusion: Given that engagement in PA is considered an integral part of RA management, rheumatologists play an essential role in encouraging PA practice, along with other health professionals, including physiotherapists. As the study has shown, communication between physicians and RA patients about PA with personalized and practical information on PA practice should be encouraged.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Rat A, Constantin A, Beauvais C, Guillodo Y, Guay V, Pain E, Bombezin--Domino A, Lévy Weil F. Patients’ Perceptions and Expectations Towards the Role of Rheumatologists in the Recommendations of Physical Activity’s Practice – A Cross-sectional Study Involving 308 Patients Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis in France [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2020; 72 (suppl 10). https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/patients-perceptions-and-expectations-towards-the-role-of-rheumatologists-in-the-recommendations-of-physical-activitys-practice-a-cross-sectional-study-involving-308-patients-livin/. Accessed March 1, 2021.
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