Ryan, S, Campbell, P, Paskins, Z, Manning, F, Rule, K, Brooks, M, Hider, S and Hassell, A (2022) Perceptions of risk in people with inflammatory arthritis during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rheumatology Advances in Practice, 6 (2). ISSN 2514-1775

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People with inflammatory arthritis have an increased incidence of serious illness and mortality, placing them at risk of poor outcomes from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This study explored patients’ perceptions of risk from COVID-19 over a longitudinal period of the pandemic.

Fifteen adults with inflammatory arthritis attending a National Health Service rheumatology service each took part in three semi-structured telephone interviews conducted between 16 September 2020 and 29 July 2021. Interpretive phenomenological analysis was undertaken by two researchers and two public contributors.

Four main themes relating to perceptions of risk from COVID-19 were identified: inflammatory arthritis; medications and co-morbidities; immediate social environment; health policy communication; and media influence. Participants recognized that having inflammatory arthritis 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.

This study demonstrates the breadth of factors that influenced perceptions of risk in people with an inflammatory arthritis. As health professionals, we have only a small sphere of influence over some of these factors, namely health-care communications. People with inflammatory arthritis appropriately knew that 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.

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: RA; 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: 13 Oct 2022 14:34
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/11051

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