Rheumatoid Arthritis

Messages to health care professionals

People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) had important messages that they wanted to convey to doctors, nurses, and other health workers:

  • Don't neglect the special needs of young people with RA
  • Be aware of 'the person behind the patient' and take a holistic approach to disease management
  • Remember that people are all different
  • Don't treat patients as numbers
  • Don't describe patients as 'rheumatoids'
  • Give patients plenty of information, explaining medications and procedures about to be performed (see 'Finding information about RA')
  • Don't use jargon that patients don't understand
  • Listen to your patients and involve them in decisions at every stage
  • Understand that continuity of care is very important to patients with RA
  • Talk to your patients about sex after being diagnosed with RA. This is an important and much neglected subject and patients need your advice and support.
  • Remember that patients may forget what they have been told. It is useful to have the phone number of a nurse to call
  • Tender loving care is important
  • Don't be too rough when examining patients
Audio onlyText only
Read below
  • Don't rush the consultation - allow enough time for each patient
  • Tell patients about the social support and financial benefits that are available
  • Be truthful and tell patients that there isn't a cure for RA though much can be done to help to control the condition and make it more manageable
  • Try not to frighten them with worst case scenarios
  • If a clinic is running late give patients information and apologise for delays
  • Increase public awareness of RA and keep people informed through the media on research and developments in treatment
  • Involve patients in NHS decisions on how services are provided

Last reviewed August 2016.

Last updated March 2012.


Please use the form below to tell us what you think of the site. We’d love to hear about how we’ve helped you, how we could improve or if you have found something that’s broken on the site. We are a small team but will try to reply as quickly as possible.

Please note that we are unable to accept article submissions or offer medical advice. If you are affected by any of the issues covered on this website and need to talk to someone in confidence, please contact The Samaritans or your Doctor.

Make a Donation to healthtalk.org

Find out more about how you can help us.

Send to a friend

Simply fill out this form and we'll send them an email