Ryan, S, Campbell, P, Paskins, Z, Hider, S, Manning, F, Rule, K, Brooks, M and Hassell, A (2021) Exploring the physical, psychological and social wellbeing of people with rheumatoid arthritis during the coronavirus pandemic: a single centre, longitudinal, qualitative interview study in the UK. BMJ Open. ISSN 2044-6055 (In Press)

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Objective Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune, inflammatory, systemic condition that requires specific drug treatment to suppress disease activity and prevent joint deformity. To manage the ongoing symptoms of joint pain and fatigue patients are encouraged to engage in self-management activities. People with RA have an increased incidence of serious illness and mortality, with the potential to impact on quality of life. This study explored patients’ experiences of living with RA on physical, psychological, and social wellbeing as well as their ability to employ self-management skills during the coronavirus pandemic. Design Qualitative, longitudinal (baseline, 16th September to 23rd November 2020 and after 2-4 months, 11th January to the 17th January 2021), semi-structured telephone interviews. Setting A rheumatology service based in a community hospital. Participants 15 adults with rheumatoid arthritis. Main Outcomes Data were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results Five themes were identified which related to impact on i) fear: the dominant emotion, ii) social connections and work practices, iii) physical health, iv) identity and v) self-management as a coping mechanism. The overriding emotion was one of fear, which remained high throughout both interviews. The negative impact on social wellbeing increased as the pandemic progressed. Conversely, physical health was not affected at either time point, although participants reported difficulty in interpreting whether physical symptoms were attributable to their RA or COVID. Recognition of increased vulnerability led to a reassessment of self-identity, however respondents reported using previously learnt self-management techniques to cope in the context of the pandemic. Conclusions The main impact was on emotional and social wellbeing. Levels of fear and vulnerability which affected self-identity remained high throughout the pandemic and the impact on social wellbeing increased over time. Physical health remained largely unaffected. Self-management skills were used to maintain a sense of wellbeing.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final version of this article and all relevant information related to it, including copyrights, can be found on the publisher website.
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC925 Diseases of the musculoskeletal system
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2021 11:58
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2022 01:30
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/10366

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