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Patient support groups in rheumatic diseases: An evolving and essential component of patient care

1 Department of Internal Medicine, International Medical University, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia
2 Department of Rheumatology, Hospital Tuanku Ja'afar Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia

Correspondence Address:
Siew Houy Chua,
Department of Internal Medicine, International Medical University, Jalan Rasah, Bukit Rasah, 70300 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/injr.injr_72_22

Patient support groups, also known as patient advocacy organizations, offer instrumental, emotional, research opportunities and even fundraising to support patients, families, and caregivers affected by certain diseases. The support groups offer therapeutic benefits, not only medically, but also psychosocial aspects of the patients. They serve to increase disease awareness among the patients, public and health professionals which results in promoting patient empowerment in self-management and improving the overall support network for the patients. Rheumatic diseases are often chronic, progressive autoimmune conditions which commonly cause physical symptoms, functionality disability, psychological, social, and economic impact on the patients' lives. However, limitations such as lack of access to local support groups especially with the rare diseases, and difficulty in sustaining a group due to funding and leadership issues, do exist. This article focuses on the role of the patient support group in complementing the medical treatment provided by health professionals among patients with rheumatic diseases and ways to enhance the sustainability of patient support group.

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