Pain, fatigue and functional disability are associated with higher educational needs in systemic sclerosis: a cross-sectional study

Matylda Sierakowska*, Stanisław Sierakowski, Justyna Sierakowska, Elżbieta Krajewska-Kułak, Mwidimi Ndosi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

3 Citations (Scopus)
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In the process of the planned and systematic education of patients/families, it is extremely important to identify patients’ health problems as well as their needs and expectations. The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between functional disability, health problems and perceived educational needs in people with systemic sclerosis (SSc). This was a cross-sectional analytic study conducted in six rheumatology centers in Poland. Functional disability was measured using HAQ-DI, and the magnitude of other health problems (pain, fatigue, intestinal problems, breathing problems, Raynaud’s phenomenon, finger ulcerations) was measured using 0–100 mm visual analogue scales. The educational needs were measured using the Polish version of the Educational Needs Assessment Tool (Pol-ENAT). Spearman’s correlation coefficient (rs) was used to report associations. The sample comprised 140 patients, 125 (89.28%) were women. They had a mean (SD) age of 54 (14.23) and disease duration of 11 (10.27) years. The median (IQR) HAQ-DI was 1.12 (0.62–1.62) and mean ENAT score was 71.54 (SD 27.72). Patients needed to know more about the disease process, self-help measures and managing pain. All health problems had significant correlations with the overall educational needs, pain, functional disability and fatigue having the highest rs = 0.359, p < 0.0001; rs = 0.314, p < 0.001 and rs = 0.270, p = 0.001, respectively. Health problems in people with SSc are associated with considerable educational needs; therefore, health professionals should take this into account when planning patient education. Group interventions should consider providing patient education related to disease process as a minimum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1471-1478
Number of pages8
JournalRheumatology International
Issue number8
Early online date1 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • Disability
  • Educational needs
  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon
  • Systemic sclerosis

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