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Caregivers’ role in models of care for inflammatory arthritis

Caregivers play an important role throughout the inflammatory arthritis models of care. The nurse at your doctor’s office serves as a first line of contact between you and your doctor. Your partner and family members at home provide physical and emotional support – be it helping you with groceries, taking you to your doctor’s appointment, or listening to your concerns about your treatment therapies. On Caregiver Day, we want to thank you to all the caregivers who are providing care worldwide. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of patients living with arthritis!

Plant with heart shaped flowers to show thanks on caregiver day

What is an inflammatory arthritis model of care?

“Models of care are very important for chronic diseases such as inflammatory arthritis because they facilitate early efficient diagnosis and delivery of holistic health care services, help in the realignment of existing resources to optimize health system efficiencies, and identify the need for new resources. Arthritis patients require an integrated team-based approach to care that includes a number of health care providers over a period of time.”

Dr. Diane Mosher, Professor of Medicine and the Chief of the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Calgary

Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) and its numerous community partners in the Arthritis Alliance of Canada have contributed towards the development of “A pan-Canadian Approach to Inflammatory Arthritis Models of Care” to improve the way health care is delivered to patients with IA by the health policy decision makers, rheumatologists, allied health professionals and other health care providers who care for them. Below are the steps in the Inflammatory Arthritis Models of Care:

  1. How does a Model of Care help people with IA before they get very sick and disabled?
    • Person recognizes symptoms and goes to their family doctor for help
    • If IA is suspected, the family doctor or a nurse practitioner should provide the patient an urgent referral to a rheumatologist or other trained specialist
  2. Getting expert care
    • Patients referred to a rheumatologist or other trained specialist will be assessed and provided a treatment plan based on disease severity
  3. Ongoing treatment and care after diagnosis
    • Patients with IA should have information on therapy of choice, route of administration and side effects of a medication
    • Patients with IA need ongoing monitoring of disease activity and improvement in their wellness
    • Patients with IA may need pain management initially or as needed during symptom flares
  4. Team-based care
    • Patients with IA and their health care team discuss their progress and make treatment decisions together
    • Patients with IA need research-based information and strategies to help them manage their day-to-day life with their disease
    • Patient requires access to services provided by physiotherapists and occupational therapists
  5. Taking care of yourself
    • Patients with IA need to understand what quality health care means, what their full range of treatment options are, and how to find and either pay them directly or get financial assistance
    • Patients with IA must have true partnerships with their healthcare team to determine the best choices for their health
    • Patients with IA need to learn how to take action if they feel they are not getting good health care

To learn more about inflammatory arthritis model of care, read this special issue ofJointHealth™ insight.