Partner Also Grieves Arthritis Diagnosis

ROME, June 21 (UPI) — British researchers suggest offering support to the partners of newly-diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis patients.

The investigators conducted in-depth interviews of six spouses of patients at the time of their partners’ arthritis diagnosis. They found the partners shared the following:

– Emotions that were described as an immense sadness for a perceived loss of the future and sadness concerning their experience.

– Adaptation, which meant coming to grips with the reality that this is a permanent condition.

– Coping strategies: Ways partners express their feelings of denial, helplessness and/or concealment of both the condition and its impact on their relationship.

– Need for support and information, such as support groups, are acknowledged as needed but were spurned by all six participants.

“The results of our research have shown that partners of patients are as emotionally affected as the patient by the diagnosis,” study lead author Julie Taylor of the University of the West of England in Bristol said in a statement. “We recommend that, if clinicians and healthcare professionals are able to offer support to the partners of patients at the time they require it, then this will create a foundation of greater support for the patients, resulting in improved emotional outcomes for both parties.”

The study was presented in the annual congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Rome.

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