The treatment and care of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is complex and various health professionals with different areas of expertise may be involved. The objective of this article is to review the treatments and their efficacy as provided by health care professionals in RA care. The requirements for further research in this area are formulated. To achieve better effects of treatment it is necessary to improve the coordination of services as provided by the different specialists. The important roles of the patients themselves in the care and management of the disease are emphasized, as well as the roles of the informal caregivers such as a spouse or other family members and friends and the role of patient societies. The possible role of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) to improve the communication and facilitate the coordination among health professionals and between patients and health professionals is mentioned. The topics presented in this article may encourage further discussion and research, particularly concerning the effects of the treatments as provided by allied health professionals. Health professionals play an important role in the life of patients with rheumatic disorders, in all the domains of the ICF: body functions and structure, activities (action by an individual) and participation (involvement in a life situation). Health professionals in rheumatology can make the difference in the lives of RA patients and their families.
PMID: 16010444 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]
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