Living with osteoarthritis: a patient’s perspective

Osteoarthiritis is a life-changing, degenerative joint disease. It affects millions of people worldwide, both those who live with the disease and those who care for them.

Helen Burrell, along with her GP Dr Christian Mallen and researcher Dr Jane Richardson, tells the story of how osteoarthritis affects her and her experiences of it in a primary care setting in this alternative case report.

Dr Jane Richardson says, “The idea for this report was generated by one of the authors (Helen Burrell) who was diagnosed with osteoarthritis at an early age following childhood Perthes disease. She approached her general practitioner wanting an opportunity to tell her story. Using Helens’ poems to illustrate her experiences, we have produced a multidisciplinary case report involving a patient, a sociologist and a general practitioner.

Whilst this may not fit the model for a traditional case report, the strong messages arising from this narrative are important for clinicians and researchers to consider. The emotional, social and psychological aspects of a chronic disease are frequently neglected and Helen’s experiences are both moving and thought provoking.  We feel this innovative multidisciplinary approach has much to offer and hope that patient orientated case reports become more widespread.”

This is a great example of the patient’s perspective featured in our case reports, helping to enhance the clinical details of a case by including real-life experiences of the most important person – the patient.

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