Definition of therapeutic education

According to the WHO, therapeutic education for patients is intended to help patients acquire or maintain the skills they need to optimally manage living with a chronic disease (www.has-sante.fr).

What is therapeutic education?

Therapeutic education aims at improving patient treatment by giving patients independence, and helping them obtain and maintain the necessary skills to live more comfortably with their disease.
Atopic dermatitis treatment essentially involves localized treatments adapted to the intensity and spread of lesions. It requires a certain level of know-how, which patients and their loved ones must acquire.
However, apprehensions towards certain treatments (e.g. corticophobia) or preconceptions (e.g. milk as a causal factor) are the reason behind many therapeutic failures.
Patients and their families expect more than plain, hard facts. They need an opportunity to discuss their difficulties, beliefs, knowledge and misgivings. Therapeutic education fulfills this need.
TPE is mostly provided by a multidisciplinary group (individual consultation or group workshop).

A number of factors have contributed to the emergence of therapeutic education for patients

  • The increasing number of pateints suffering from chronic diseases in developed countries
  • A treatment strategy specific to the chronic disease, distinct from acute diseases (the objective is not to cure rapidly but to maintain satisfactory health over the long term and avoid complications in the disease by improving the quality of life)
  • Generally poor compliance with treatment for chronic diseases
  • The promotion of the personal involvement of patients in choosing therapeutic strategies and in managing their disease
  • The involvement of caregivers, who often find themselves in difficult situations because of the chronic disease
The therapeutic education of patients has been proven to be effective for a number of chronic diseases (asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and atopic dermatitis).
It is part of a quality dynamic in the treatment of patients and allows for teams to be motivated based on a multidisciplinary project.

Therapeutic education for dermatological patients

Many chronic diseases that have a significant impact on quality of life are expressed through the skin (atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, genodermatites, hand dermatitis, etc.).
Their impact on self-image and the quality of life of patients is known.
These diseases require fastidious, repetitive local treatment that requires the patient and those around him or her to acquire specific skills and a psychological and material investment.
In order to help caregivers put in place therapeutic education for patients, it is therefore crucial to make available a specific guide for dermatological diseases.

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