08:25 AM

How to Advocate for Yourself When You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis

WebMD discusses how patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) can advocate for themselves by taking an active role in their treatment according to experts including Adena Batterman, MSW, LCSW, senior manager of inflammatory arthritis support and education programs at HSS.

“Remember than you are at the center of your care,” said Batterman, who underscored the importance of partnering with a rheumatologist to create an individualized treatment plan. “Without your involvement and voice in all of this, your needs are unknown and unheard,” she noted.

Additionally, Batterman suggested building relationships with every member of the care team, including the nurses, social workers, physical therapists, and occupational therapists, as they can be a source of information and support. “The best way to advocate for yourself is to know who can be a resource and reach out to them."

It’s important to pay attention to how you feel (e.g., symptoms, pain levels, medication side effects, etc.). Knowing how your body responds to different treatments can help a doctor understand what works best for you. “You’re the expert in what living with RA is like for you," noted Batterman. Nobody knows your pain, fatigue, stiffness, and side effects better than you.

Read the full article at Webmd.com.