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28-05-2018 | Rheumatoid arthritis | Article

Expert recommendations on the psychological needs of patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatology International

Authors: Leticia Leon, Marta Redondo, Antonio Fernández-Nebro, Susana Gómez, Estíbaliz Loza, María Montoro, Rosario Garcia-Vicuña, María Galindo

Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg



To establish feasible and practical recommendations for the management of the psychological needs of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) from the moment of diagnosis through the course of the disease.


A nominal group meeting was held with an RA expert team including rheumatologists and psychologists, at which a guided discussion addressed the most important psychological and emotional needs in RA. Based on the comments collected, and a literature review, a matrix document of recommendations for telematics discussion was prepared, as well as a Delphi survey to test agreement with these recommendations. Agreement was defined if at least 80% of participants voted ≥ 7 (from 1, totally disagree to 10, totally agree). For each recommendation, the level of evidence and grading of recommendations was established following the Oxford criteria, and the degree of agreement through the Delphi.


Thirteen recommendations were established, addressing several key processes: (1) identification of psychological problems and needs in patients with RA, and a guideline for their management in daily practice; (2) communication with patients; (3) referral criteria to mental health professionals.


These recommendations are intended to help health care professionals openly address the psychological aspects of patients in daily practice to follow and treat them properly.

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