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Support Groups Can Help Rheumatic Disease Patients

The Rheumatologist featured a bylined article by Joan Westreich, LCSW, social work coordinator of the Early Arthritis Initiative at HSS, who addressed the importance of support groups for those with rheumatic conditions.

"Dynamic, efficient and cost-effective, groups are adaptable to multiple practice environments with a range of institutional support, infrastructure and availability of trained group leaders," Westreich wrote.

According to the article, cognitive behavioral groups have reported improved outcomes for patients managing fatigue and pain.

HSS rheumatologist Theodore R. Fields, MD, FACP, also offered his perspective. "I highly recommend groups to patients who are considering them. I feel they provide an important service for our patients that is very hard for them to get in any other way. For instance, patients have been especially grateful to speak with other patients about their fatigue, since it is invisible to their spouses, partners and friends, yet is very real and challenging for them," he said.

Additionally, Westreich noted that HSS groups provide lectures by rheumatologists and a forum where patients can discuss their emotions living with a chronic illness.

Read the full article at the-rheumatologist.org.