Development and pilot testing of a novel intervention to ensure optimal support for arthritis patients

While family and friends of people living with arthritis have been identified as key sources of support, little research has been done on the specific role and impact of their support. Research suggests the well-being of patients with arthritis suffers when their spouses don’t understand what support they need. Through interviews and focus groups, Allen Lehman is identifying the types of support that arthritis patients want and need from family and friends. He is also identifying ways to increase positive support and assessing how support improves health and reduces health care costs. Lehman will use the results to develop a health education program for arthritis patients and their family and friends. Ultimately, Lehman hopes this research will provide a model for identifying support needs in people with other chronic illness.