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Lupus patients: The doctor, nurse and social worker are here to see you
Date:11/9/2010

The benefits of collaborative, multidisciplinary care of patients with complex autoimmune diseases like lupus and multiple sclerosis are just beginning to be appreciated by physicians. Hospital for Special Surgery in New York will present evidence of the advantages of such a specialized disease center dedicated to comprehensive lupus care at the 74th Annual Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in Atlanta.

"Every time a patient comes in for an appointment, I am able to greet them personally, to find out what is going on in their lives and what may be bothering them that day," said Pretima Persad, M.P.H., manager of the Mary Kirkland Center for Lupus Care. "We provide patients with care that is personalized to their particular situation, such as pregnancy or psychological concerns. We want them to know that their care team is really listening to them."

In addition to check-ins with Ms. Persad before every appointment, patients meet with a nurse and a social worker at Hospital for Special Surgery. "Patients feel that they are being provided with an umbrella of care," according to Dr. Doruk Erkan, co-director of the Mary Kirkland Center. "In this centralized environment, the patient is the number one focus. We are treating the patient as a whole, not just the disease."

The physicians, nurses, social workers and research coordinators at the Mary Kirkland Center for Lupus Care at Hospital for Special Surgery know that treating patients with lupus requires the coordinated efforts of a number of health care professionals. "Each patient-care team member brings individual expertise but is aware that treatment of this chronic disease requires concurrent battle on multiple fronts," said Dr. Kyriakos Kirou, co-director of the center. "They are trained to expect the unexpected and to support patients who may be confused and frightened."

Lupus causes the immune system to attack the body's own cells, resulting in inflammation and
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Contact: Phyllis Fisher
phyllis.fisher@gmail.com
212-606-1197
Hospital for Special Surgery
Source:Eurekalert

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