Ms Ella Guest, University of the West of England
The transient and unpredictable nature of psoriasis can make it a difficult condition to manage. In addition to physical symptoms such as pain, itching, and discomfort, which are often visible to others, psoriasis can also impact considerably on psychosocial wellbeing. Although effective treatments for physical symptoms are available, evidence suggests that many patients find it difficult to adhere to their treatment regime, making them more susceptible to distressing flare-ups. Concurrently, previous research has found patients to perceive current information and support to be insufficient to help them effectively manage their condition. Compared to other areas of healthcare, qualitative research is relatively scarce, with little specific investigation into how people manage flare-ups.
In the recent priority-setting exercise by the Psoriasis Association, the list of top 10 research questions included: “What’s the best way to treat sudden flare-ups of psoriasis?” The proposed study will investigate the impact of psoriasis flare-ups on patients’ psychological wellbeing and life engagement, barriers and facilitators to managing flare-ups, and patients’ information and support needs using an in-depth qualitative approach. Individual semi-structured telephone interviews will be conducted with approximately 30 individuals living with psoriasis, aged 16 years+.
The findings will provide guidance as to what types of support may be most helpful, when, and for whom; identify how information and signposting by health professionals could be improved; and provide practical suggestions for supporting treatment adherence, allowing individuals to assert more control over their condition, reduce their likelihood of developing co-morbid disorders, and support them to cope with flare-ups.