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When someone you care about has psoriatic arthritis, it is not always easy to know how you can best support them.25 The Carers Corner aims to provide you with information on the impact of psoriatic arthritis and practical advice which may help you.

How can you help in daily life?

  • Small acts of support can be a huge help

Even if the effects are not always obvious, psoriatic arthritis can have a big impact on a person’s life.26 Their disease may limit what they are and are not able to do, particularly when they are required to be active or mobile. Just being there to offer support, if they need it, to occupy them and take their mind off things can be a huge help.25,27,28

  • Try to be mindful and supportive with changing moods and activity levels

Even though there may not always be a visible change, there will be periods during which their symptoms are worse, known as ‘flare ups’.3 At these times, their mood or level of activity may be impacted and they may require just a little bit more help. Plans may also have to be adapted accordingly.27,28 However, there will also be days when they are not so badly affected and will be able to do more. Try to help them remember this.27,28

  • Show support in social settings

The impact of psoriatic arthritis can be more than physical. People have reported feeling embarrassed or isolated as a result of their disease,29 especially during periods when their condition is more visible. You may find that during these periods, they will be uncomfortable in certain social settings and may wish to avoid actions which would draw attention to their disease, such as shaking hands.30,31

How can you help them manage their condition?

  • Educate yourself on psoriatic arthritis

When a person has just been diagnosed, fully understanding their disease and knowing what their diagnosis will mean can be a challenge. Psoriatic arthritis is a complex disease, which affects everyone differently.1,2 You can help them with this by doing some research into the condition yourself.24, 27, 28

  • Reassure them that support is available

There is a lot of information and support out there, and people who will be happy to help. Patient groups can be a great source of advice, support and local knowledge, connecting them with a community of people who may be in a similar position.27 The person’s doctor may be able to recommend support groups in your area.

  • Take notes to help them get the most out of their doctor’s visit

Depending on the person, they may also appreciate company during their visits to the doctor. During consultations, there can be a lot of information to take in. If the person is happy for you to, it may be helpful for you to take notes on what the doctor says to refer back to later, in case they are unsure of anything or need a little reminder.27

  • Let them know that they have options

Psoriatic arthritis can be treated in a number of different ways. If you feel comfortable doing so, speak to the person about their specific goals for managing the disease. The What’s Your Combination? questionnaire may help them identify which psoriatic arthritis domains they experience and help them to better understand their condition.

References

1. Kavanaugh A, et al. Rheumatol Ther 2016;3:91–102.
2. Aletaha D, et al. The many faces of psoriatic arthritis – a challenge to treatment to target? Reumatologia. 2016; 54(1): 1–2.
3. Mayo Clinic, Psoriatic Arthritis, Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriatic-arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354076. Accessed August 2018
4. Al Hammadi, et al., Psoriatic Arthritis – Overview, MedScape. Available at: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2196539-overview#a1. Accessed August 2018
5. Arthritis Research UK, What causes psoriatic arthritis?, Available at: https://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/conditions/psoriatic-arthritis/causes.aspx, Accessed September 2018
6. Al Hammadi, et al., Psoriatic Arthritis – Pathophysiology and Etiology, MedScape. Available at: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2196539-overview#a4. Accessed August 2018
7. International Federation of Psoriasis Associations, World Psoriasis Day 2013, available at: https://ifpa-pso.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/WPD-2013-General-Summary.pdf. Accessed August 2018.
8. PAPAA, About Psoriatic Arthritis, Available at: http://www.papaa.org/resources/about-psoriatic-arthritis
9. NHS Choices, Psoriatic Arthritis, Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/psoriatic-arthritis/. Accessed July 2018
10. Coates LC, et al. Arthritis Rheumatol 2016;68:1060–71
11. Arthritis Foundation. Psoriatic Arthritis and Back Pain, Available at: https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/psoriatic-arthritis/articles/psa-back-pain.php. Accessed September 2018
12. McGonagle, D. & Benjamin, M., Enthesis, enthesitis and enthesopathy, Arthritis Research UK, Available at: https://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/health-professionals-and-students/reports/topical-reviews/topical-reviews-autumn-2009.aspx. Accessed July 2018

13. National Psoriasis Foundation. About Psoriatic Arthritis. Available at: https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriatic-arthritis. Accessed September 2018
14. PAPAA. What is Psoriatic Arthritis, Available at: http://www.papaa.org/sites/default/files/WhatisPsa%20final_2018.pdf. Accessed July 2018
15. Psoriatic-arthritis.com. What Are Common Symptoms of PsA? Available at: https://psoriatic-arthritis.com/psa-symptoms/. Accessed September 2018
16. NHS. Psoriasis Symptoms. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/psoriasis/symptoms/. Accessed September 2018
17. PAPAA, Nail Psoriasis, Available at: http://www.papaa.org/further-information/nail-psoriasis. Accessed July 2018
18. Enthesitis. Enthesitis Symptoms and Treatments. Available at: http://enthesitis.org/enthesitis-symptoms-treatments/. Accessed July 2018
19. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, Psoriasis, Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/psoriasis. Accessed July 2018
20. Mayo Clinic, Psoriasis, Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriasis/symptoms-causes/syc-20355840. Accessed September 2018.

21. Husted JA, et al. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken) 2011;63:1729–35.
22. Edson-Heredia E, et al. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2015;29:955–63.
23. Ogdie A, et al. J Rheumatol 2014;41:2315–22
24 Ogdie A, et al. J Invest Dermatol 2017 [Epub].
25. Mayo Clinic, Caregiver stress: Tips for taking care of yourself, Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/caregiver-stress/art-20044784. Accessed August 2018.
26. Lebwohl MD, et al. J Am Acad Derm 2014;70:871–81.
27. Arthritis UK (2013). Caring for a person with arthritis. Published April 2013 2005/CARER/13-1
28. Carers UK (2018). Looking after someone (2018). Available at: www.carersuk.org Accessed August 2018.
29. Armstrong, A., Quality of Life and Work Productivity Impairment among Psoriasis Patients: Findings from the National Psoriasis Foundation Survey Data 2003–2011, PLOS ONE, 7(12)
30. Thompson A et al (2013). Building confidence in social situations: A guide for people living with a skin condition, including scars. http://skinsupport.org.uk/sites/default/files/Social%20Confidence%20Self-help%20Leaflet_0.pdf. Accessed August 2018.
31. PAPPA. Psychological Aspects Of Psoriasis. (2012). Available at:
www.papaa.org Accessed August 2018.

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