UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Rheumatology health care providers’ views and practices on obesity and smoking cessation management in rheumatoid arthritis Karacabeyli, Derin; Shojania, Kam; Dehghan, Natasha S.; Lacaille, Diane


Objective: To assess rheumatology health care providers’ (HCPs) knowledge, beliefs, selfefficacy, practices, and perceived barriers pertaining to weight management and smoking cessation counselling in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Method: We administered an online survey to collect self-reported data on rheumatology HCPs’ knowledge, beliefs, self-efficacy, perceived barriers, and practices related to weight management and smoking cessation counselling. Participants were recruited through invitation emails (with anonymous survey links) sent by three Canadian rheumatology organizations. Results: Fifty-nine rheumatology HCPs (15 nurses, 44 physicians) completed the survey (response rate: 11%). Over 85% correctly identified associations between obesity, or smoking, and more severe or active RA, as well as poorer response to treatment. All but one participant agreed that it was part of their responsibility to discuss these issues with patients, but 78% (46/59) felt not or slightly confident in their ability to help patients quit smoking or achieve clinically significant weight loss. The majority did not routinely assist patients in accessing appropriate resources or providers (only 42% did for obesity, 36% for smoking), send referrals (2-44%, depending on referral), or offer relevant educational materials (15% for obesity, 20% for smoking). Common barriers included competing demands and lack of time, training, access to expertise, and knowledge of available programs. Conclusion: Most rheumatology HCPs understood the implications of cigarette smoking and obesity in RA and accepted responsibility in addressing these issues. However, they lacked the time, training, confidence, and knowledge of local resources to do so effectively. There is a need to bridge this gap.

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