Ryan, S ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2202-6266, Campbell, P ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9148-882X, Paskins, Z ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7783-2986, Manning, F, Rule, K, Brooks, M, Hider, S ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9958-3909 and Hassell, A (2022) Perceptions of risk in people with inflammatory arthritis during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rheumatology Advances in Practice.

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Abstract

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title> <jats:sec> <jats:title>Objectives</jats:title> <jats:p>People with inflammatory arthritis (IA) have an increased incidence of serious illness and mortality, placing them at risk from poor outcomes from COVID-19. This study explored patients’ perceptions of risk from COVID-19 over a longitudinal period of the pandemic.</jats:p> </jats:sec> <jats:sec> <jats:title>Methods</jats:title> <jats:p>Fifteen adults with inflammatory arthritis attending a NHS rheumatology service, each took part in 3 semi-structured telephone interviews conducted between 16th September 2020 - 29th July 2021. Interpretive phenomenological analysis was undertaken by two researchers and two public contributors.</jats:p> </jats:sec> <jats:sec> <jats:title>Results</jats:title> <jats:p>Four main themes relating to perceptions of risk from COVID-19 were identified: i) Inflammatory arthritis, medications and co-morbidities, ii) Immediate social environment iii) Health policy communication, and iv) Media influence. Participants recognised that having IA increased their individual risk. Perceptions of risk and associated fear increased during the pandemic, influenced by family/friends who had had COVID-19 and health policy communications. The perceived constant use of negative messages led to many participants disengaging with the media. At the final interviews when the vaccination programme was well established, participants continued to assess the risk and benefits of engaging in activities.</jats:p> </jats:sec> <jats:sec> <jats:title>Conclusions</jats:title> <jats:p>This study demonstrates the breadth of factors that influenced perceptions of risk in people with an inflammatory arthritis. As health professionals we only have a small sphere of influence over some of these factors, namely health care communications. People with inflammatory arthritis appropriately knew their condition increased their infection risk, but more could be done to consider how and to what extent we involve patients in explaining risk at times of crisis.</jats:p> </jats:sec> <jats:sec> <jats:title>LAY SUMMARY</jats:title> <jats:p>What does this mean for patients?</jats:p> <jats:p>People with inflammatory arthritis (IA) have an increased risk of serious infection. We interviewed 15 adults with IA, three times, over 7 months during the pandemic to explore how patients interpreted their own risk to COVID-19. We found that people were fearful that COVID-19 could be fatal due to having IA. This fear was heightened by media reports of new variants, seeing family and friends with COVID-19, and receiving letters from the hospital and government confirming their increased risk. Awareness of risk remained high throughout the three interviews which may reflect the lack of evidence, at that time, regarding the exact risk to people with an IA. Our work adds to previous research that individual risk needs to be communicated in such a way that it contains information as to how risk can be reduced without inducing further distress. Patient involvement in how risk can be communicated effectively is required.</jats:p> </jats:sec>

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS, COVID-19, HEALTH COMMUNICATIONS, PERCEPTIONS OF RISK, QUALITATIVE RESEARCH
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Primary Care Health Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2022 15:38
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2022 15:38
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/11051

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