Nearly half of patients with psoriasis don't talk to their nurses or doctor about itching, new research by the Psoriasis Association has found.
Just under a quarter of healthcare professionals surveyed do not proactively ask patients about itch during consultations, in spite of 95% believing it is an important conversation to have.
The research also revealed that 45% of people with psoriasis scored itch eight or above in terms of impact on their social life and 46% scored itch eight or above in terms of impact on day-to-day home life.
'We know that itching is a frustrating symptom of psoriasis, but what this shows us is the extent to which itch impacts people’s lives, from a physical, psychological and social perspective,' commented Carla Renton, information and communications manager at the Psoriasis Association. 'Itch is often a constant burden, and one that needs to be addressed in order to improve the quality of life of those living with psoriasis.'
In response to the findings, the Psoriasis Association, the British Dermatological Nursing Group and Celgene have launched the 'Itch Discussion Tool', to aid conversations between physicians and patients specifically focused on itching.
The tool comprises an itch impact questionnaire and an action plan. People with psoriasis can either complete the itch impact questionnaire before or during a consultation and then complete the action plan with their doctor or nurse. The tool is currently being piloted in selected dermatology clinics in the UK.
'Itch is an important and problematic symptom for people with psoriasis but one that may be overlooked by healthcare professionals,' said Professor Chris Griffiths, professor of dermatology at the University of Manchester. “This new discussion tool will help to ensure that itch is assessed as part of routine practice.'
The survey was sent to the member lists of the British Dermatological Nursing Group and the Psoriasis Assocation and disseminated among healthcare professional contacts. There were 256 healthcare professional respondents including dermatologists, nurses and GPs. Some 429 UK-based people with psoriasis also completed the survey via the Life's an Itch website.