How Healthcare Providers Can Better Help Patients With Psoriatic Arthritis
Last updated: May 2021
It is no surprise that many people, especially those with psoriatic arthritis, put off going to the doctor. Going to the doctor should be a good experience that brings relief. However, many in the community shared that what they encounter is anything but relief.
Let's hear it straight from PsA patients
For a complicated condition like psoriatic arthritis, it’s important to make the best of this time with your doctor. But this doesn’t always happen.
To find out more about your experiences with healthcare, we reached out on the Psoriatic-Arthritis.com Facebook page. We asked, “How can healthcare providers work better with PsA patients?”
Nearly 70 community members responded. Here is what was shared:
Taking the time to listen
The most common complaint was that healthcare workers do not take the time to let a patient explain their unique symptoms. No disease, including psoriatic arthritis, has a one-size-fits-all solution. Most patients believe they would heal faster if healthcare workers took more time to make a patient-specific plan for treatment.
“Healthcare workers can work better with their patients by simply listening to that patient. By listening to the patient rather than rushing us along, because we are the ones who are living with the symptoms.”
“Doctors need to actually listen and hear what a patient has to say.”
Believing what the patient says
Moreover, many said that they have had the experience of healthcare workers not believing what they say. This disbelief is unhelpful and can drag out the process of finding a solution for patients' symptoms.
“You could start by actually believing us when we say we hurt in spite of the drugs and stop thinking we may be addicted to the damn things!”
“Actually believe us.”
Making sure not to be dismissive with patients
Everyone recognizes when they are being rushed, or when someone is actively dismissing what they share. When a patient comes to see a doctor, they are investing their time so that they will feel better. They deserve to be heard and to have a healthcare worker demonstrate that they take patient concerns seriously.
“I find it so frustrating when a doctor is dismissive of my symptoms. It makes me feel as if it is all in my head when I know it is not.”
“Most healthcare workers assume, because they have treated a patient with the same issues, that you can treat everyone the same. Sometimes I have to remind my healthcare workers I am not the same as another person they may have treated. My issues may sound the same, but they are not.”
“It is much too common for physicians to assume that we are ignorant and know nothing about our disease(s), and dismiss our concerns.”
Treating patients with kindness
Several community members also shared that some healthcare workers had failed to treat them with even basic kindness. The golden rule always applies. It goes a long way when working with someone who is in pain and likely frustrated and could use some compassion.
“I wonder how much better our care and plan of treatments would be if doctors had to take an oath to treat each patient as if they were a relative.”
“I had a dermatologist who did not even look me in the eye. Needless to say, I did not go back.”
The most important step for your next checkup: developing an open and trusting relationship with your doctor. This is how you’ll be able to work together to get the best care for your psoriatic arthritis.
We want to say thank you to everyone who shared. We are very grateful that so many community members shared so openly.
Do you have any questions about PsA?