ACE is attending this year’s European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) annual congress in Madrid. The city is currently experiencing above normal temperatures with highs near 40°C and the rheumatology topics inside the convention centre are equally hot. Our first dispatch from the meeting looks at the launch of the “Don’t Delay, Connect Today” early intervention campaign. At a joint session for patients, clinicians, and health professionals, attendees heard how all three groups can contribute to the early diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic diseases.
Commenting on the campaign, Cheryl Koehn, ACE President said: “This campaign, by our colleagues in the European Union, neatly parallels the work the arthritis community in Canada has undertaken through the models care initiatives of the Arthritis Alliance of Canada where we define early identification of inflammatory arthritis and access to care as a key element.”
The EULAR campaign will encourage patients with typical arthritis symptoms to take action and consult their doctors as soon as possible.
At a presentation on the campaign, John Church, CEO of Arthritis Ireland, explained: “With the development of powerful biologic medications, improvements in care pathways for patients and very effective self-care options, early diagnosis and intervention can lead to significant improvement in lifestyle, physical movements, increased well-being, and work force participation.”
In an official news release, EULAR describes the campaign as follows:
‘Don’t Delay, Connect Today!’ is a EULAR campaign that, for the first time, engages all three EULAR pillars – patient organisations (PARE), health professional associations and scientific communities. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of early diagnosis in preventing further damage for people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) and encourage timely access to evidence-based treatment. RMDs often receive delayed or no diagnosis.
The campaign is supported by research, including one called “Long-Term Impact of Delay in Assessment of Patients with Early Arthritis” published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, which states those “with rheumatoid arthritis where the initiation of treatment 12 weeks after the onset of symptoms, can minimize the level of joint impact over time and increase the chance of remission.”
To learn more about the campaign, visit the World Arthritis Day website (www.worldarthritisday.org) or search #ConnecToday.