Institute of Health & Society

Project Items

The Educational Needs of Carers of People with Rheumatoid Arthritis (CARA)

A diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) not only affects the patient, but can also have significant health, social, economic, and emotional impact on those around them. Many of these ‘significant others’ act as informal carers, providing essential care and support to their partner, family member or friend with RA. NICE guidance recognises that these carers will themselves require education, indicating that carers and families of those with RA should be given ‘the information and support they need’ (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2009: 6). However, at present we know little about the views or experiences of these people, or indeed the information or education they would want or benefit from. 

The overall purpose of this ARUK funded study is to identify, describe and understand the educational needs of carers of patients with RA. 

Our specific objectives are:

1. To explore carers’ experiences of using existing educational resources.

2. To determine the extent to which carers' educational needs differ from patients’ needs.

3. To describe the unmet educational needs of carers and suggest optimal content, structure and methods of delivery of education necessary to meet carers' needs in the future. 

We will use multi-method, longitudinal, qualitative research – involving interviews, focus groups and observation – in order to explore how patients’ and carers’ needs evolve over time.