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Health professional views on the assessment and management of foot problems in people with psoriatic arthritis in Australia and New Zealand: A qualitative investigation

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Abstract

Background: Active foot disease persists in a high proportion of people with psoriatic arthritis despite the availability of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions to modify the course of the disease. Limited information exists on the provision of health care for foot disease in psoriatic arthritis. The objective of this study was to explore the views of health professionals on the assessment and management of people with psoriatic arthritis-related foot involvement. Methods: Convenience sampling was used to recruit health professionals working in rheumatology outpatient clinics in Sydney, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand. Three focus groups were undertaken to explore the views and experiences of health professionals on the assessment and management of foot problems in people with psoriatic arthritis. All interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Qualitative data was analysed using a constant comparative analytic approach to identify themes. Results: A total of seventeen health professionals participated including rheumatologists, podiatrists and a physiotherapist. Key themes derived from the focus groups suggest that health professionals perceived that people with psoriatic arthritis-related foot problems experience suboptimal management from symptom onset, to diagnosis and treatment. Frustration was expressed throughout discussions relating to lack of appropriate training and expertise required for the specialised management of foot problems typically encountered with psoriatic arthritis and poor access for patients to specialist podiatry services. Conclusions: This study provides new insight into the perspectives of health professionals on the management of foot problems related to psoriatic arthritis. Deficiencies in the diagnosis, assessment and treatment of foot problems were revealed. To meet the foot health needs of people with psoriatic arthritis, reducing diagnostic delay, improving knowledge and awareness about the disease among people with psoriatic arthritis and health professionals, and increasing specialist podiatry service provision may be required.

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Carter, K., Walmsley, S., Rome, K., & Turner, D. E. (2019). Health professional views on the assessment and management of foot problems in people with psoriatic arthritis in Australia and New Zealand: A qualitative investigation. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-019-2572-6

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