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Life challenges prevent those with lupus from keeping doctors' appointments
Date:11/5/2011

The first step towards successful medical care is to see a physician, but for some patients this isn't as simple or easy as it may sound.

A study being presented Sunday, Nov. 6 at the 2011 Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in Chicago, finds that many lupus patients with low socioeconomic status are unable to attend scheduled appointments with physicians due to daily obstacles.

"Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease that requires continuous monitoring of the disease activity and the effects medications may be having on someone," explained Doruk Erkan, M.D., senior author, rheumatologist and clinical co-director at the Mary Kirkland Center for Lupus Care at Hospital for Special Surgery. "Missing an appointment, and thus staying on a medical course without re-evaluating a patient's health status, could cause these individuals avoidable harm."

The researchers examined lupus patients who also had low socioeconomic status at the Mary Kirkland Center for Lupus Care at Hospital for Special Surgery, and found that challenges of socioeconomic status played a large part in causing some of the patients to miss their appointments. The top two reasons for missing their appointment was due to tardy or unreliable transportation, such as ambulettes, or because of insufficient childcare.

"Most of these lupus patients are women," explained Pretima Persad, MPH, lead author of the study and the manager of the Mary Kirkland Center for Lupus Care. "If their childcare falls through, they put their child first and decide to cancel appointments, which can then affect their healthcare."

During the first phase of the study, the research team studied 143 patients and categorized these individuals into three classes, based on the number of appointments they missed. They found that seven patients were "poor" attendees attending only 1-30 percent of their appointments; 66 patients were "average" attendees attendi
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Contact: Phyllis Fisher
phyllis.fisher@gmail.com
212-606-1197
Hospital for Special Surgery
Source:Eurekalert

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