Educational Needs of Patients With Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases Attending a Large Health Facility in Austria

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Introduction: Patient education is an important part of the management of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. Given that patients with diverse diseases do not have the same needs, it is crucial to assess the educational requirements of targeted groups to provide tailored educational interventions. The aim of our study was to assess educational needs of a large cohort of patients with different rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases attending a health facility in Austria. Methods: We assessed educational needs, via an online survey of patients with fibromyalgia (FMS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and ankylosing spondylitis (AS) recruited from an Austrian health-care facility, using the Austrian version of the Educational Needs Assessment Tool (OENAT). Results: For our sample of 603 patients, AS (62%), RA (15%), and FMS (24%), there were no educational need differences for the domains of movements, disease process, and self-help measures. Patients with FMS had less need for pain management education and greater need for education about feelings, than other disease groups. Patients with RA had a greater need for education related to treatments than other groups, and patients with AS had a greater need for treatment education than patients with FMS. Patients with AS reported greater need for support system education than other patient groups. Conclusion: Educational needs vary by disease groups, suggesting that health-care professionals should assess disease-specific needs for education to provide optimal assistance in disease management for patients.