According to the World Health Organization (WHO), arthritis is one of the most common chronic diseases worldwide, affecting approximately 350 million people. Of these, approximately 16 million are children. In addition to causing pain and disability, childhood arthritis can also lead to Psycho-social problems and can have a major impact on child and family well-being.
The WHO has developed interdisciplinary guidelines to optimize the treatment of childhood arthritis at the global level. These guidelines are based on the best available evidence and expert consensus.
The guidelines cover the following topics:
1. Disease classification
4. multidisciplinary care
5. psycho-social support
7. education and training
The WHO recommends that all children with arthritis should be seen by a multidisciplinary team that includes a paediatric rheumatologist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, social worker, and psychologist. The team should work together to develop an individualized treatment plan for each child.
Treatment should be based on the child’s age, medical history, disease activity, and other factors. The goal of treatment is to reduce pain, improve function, and prevent or delay joint damage.
Medications used to treat arthritis include anti-inflammatory drugs, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and biologic agents.
Physiotherapy and occupational therapy can help children with arthritis to maintain or improve their function.
Psycho-social support is an important part of treatment for children with arthritis and their families. Social workers can provide emotional support and connect families to resources such as financial assistance, respite care, and support groups.
Rehabilitation can help children with arthritis to regain or maintain their ability to function. Services may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and social skills training.
Education and training are important for children with arthritis, their families, and their caregivers. Children should learn about their disease and how to manage their symptoms. Families should be educated about the importance of compliance with medication schedules and other treatment recommendations. Caregivers should be trained in how to properly administer medications and provide other care.
Research is essential to improve our understanding of childhood arthritis and to develop more effective treatments. The WHO urges governments, funding agencies, and research institutions to prioritize childhood arthritis research.
The WHO guidelines provide an evidence-based framework for the treatment of childhood arthritis at the global level. Implementation of these guidelines has the potential to improve the lives of children with arthritis and their families.
Interdisciplinary guidelines to optimize the treatment of childhood arthritis at global level
Arthritis is a debilitating and painful condition that can have a significant impact on the quality of life of children and adolescents. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to minimize the long-term consequences of this condition.
There is currently no cure for arthritis, but treatments can help to reduce pain and inflammation, improve joint function and prevent further damage to the joints. The type of treatment required will vary depending on the type of arthritis and the severity of symptoms.
In recent years, there has been an increasing trend towards the adoption of interdisciplinary care models for the treatment of childhood arthritis. This approach involves the coordination of care between different medical specialties, as well as other health professionals such as physiotherapists and psychologists.
There is evidence that interdisciplinary care can improve outcomes for children with arthritis, and it is now recognized as the gold standard of care by leading international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International League against Rheumatism (ILAR).
The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the evidence for interdisciplinary care in childhood arthritis, and to outline the key components of an effective interdisciplinary care model.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a general term used to describe a group of conditions that cause inflammation of the joints. The most common type of arthritis in children is juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), which affects around 1 in 1000 children worldwide.
JIA is a chronic condition, which means that it can last for many years, or even a lifetime. It is important to remember that each child with JIA is unique, and that the disease course can vary considerably from one child to another.
What are the consequences of arthritis?
If left untreated, arthritis can lead to significant joint damage and deformity, as well as reduced quality of life. Children with JIA are at an increased risk of developing other conditions such as uveitis (inflammation of the eye), osteoporosis (weak bones), and depression.
It is therefore essential that children with JIA receive early and effective treatment to minimize the long-term consequences of the condition.
What is interdisciplinary care?
Interdisciplinary care is a coordinated approach to the treatment of chronic conditions that involves the collaboration of different medical specialties, as well as other health professionals such as physiotherapists and psychologists.
The evidence for interdisciplinary care
There is a growing body of evidence that interdisciplinary care can improve outcomes for children with arthritis. A systematic review of the literature found that interdisciplinary care was associated with significantly lower levels of pain, disability, and depression, as well as improved quality of life.
In addition, a recent study from the United States found that interdisciplinary care was associated with a lower risk of hospitalization and emergency department visits, as well as reduced health care costs.
The key components of an effective interdisciplinary care model
There are a number of key components that are essential for an effective interdisciplinary care model. These include:
A multidisciplinary team: A team of different specialists (e.g. rheumatologists, physiotherapists, psychologists) should work together to develop an individualized treatment plan for each child.
Coordination of care: There should be clear communication and coordination between all members of the care team, as well as between the different health care services involved.
A focus on the child and family: Treatment should be child-centered and family-oriented, with a focus on education and supporting parents/caregivers.
A comprehensive approach: Treatment should be comprehensive, taking into account the physical, psychological, social, and educational needs of the child.
A long-term commitment: Treatment should be delivered on a long-term basis, as JIA is a chronic condition.
Interdisciplinary care is now recognized as the gold standard of care for childhood arthritis by leading international organizations. There is a growing body of evidence that interdisciplinary care can improve outcomes for children with arthritis, and it is therefore essential that this approach is adopted at a global level.