A novel multidisciplinary educational programme for patients with chronic skin diseases: Ghent pilot project and first results
Chronic inflammatory skin disorders have a major impact on the patients’ health related quality of life. Preliminary studies to date have suggested that additional educational and psychological training programmes may be effective in the management of chronic skin diseases, although more rigid methodology is needed. Our purpose was to investigate the effect on quality of life of a novel multidisciplinary educational programme for patients, 18 years or older, with chronic skin diseases. The 12-week intervention encompasses cognitive education on skin and general health issues, and stress-reducing techniques. Quality of life questionnaires were used to assess the participants at baseline and at the end of the program. These comprehend Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI), Skindex-29, Psoriasis Disability Index (PDI) and Quality of Life Index for Atopic Dermatitis (QoLIAD). Fifty-five patients participated in six programmes since 2006. Forty-three patients completed the programme. Overall, compared to baseline, DLQI (n = 39) improved by 5.64 points (p < 0.001; SD ±6.09), Skindex-29 (n = 27) by 19.67 points (p < 0.001; SD ±17.37), PDI (n = 9) improved by 7.44 points (p = 0.019; SD ±7.60) and QoLIAD (n = 13) improved by 4.39 points (p = 0.036; SD ±6.69) by the end of the intervention. Preliminary results show that the quality of life of the patients with chronic skin diseases improved significantly after participation to the programme. These positive initial results are stimulating to set up a prospective controlled randomised trial investigating the impact on quality of life, the clinical efficacy and the cost-effectiveness of this educational intervention programme.