Educational interventions targeting adolescents with atopic dermatitis
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BACKGROUND: As a chronic inflammatory skin disorder, atopic dermatitis (AD) often affects people of varying ages and has the potential to affect individuals for years to decades. AD is both a physical and emotional disease, often severely affecting adolescents. Adolescence is a critical period of development when patients suffering with AD must learn to manage their own disease. The associated pruritus and skin barrier defects can be severe and interfere with social and educational opportunities. As adolescents accept the responsibility of managing their own AD, the disease outcome will be directly affected by their actions. LITERATURE REVIEW FINDINGS: Currently, the first line treatment for majority of patients suffering from AD is centered around topical emollients, topical corticosteroids and avoidance of exacerbating factors. Even with these treatments however, relapses often occur due to improper management of treatment, treatment education, and comorbidities. As a result, relapses often increase patient’s psychological stress and dermatologic scarring while decreasing self-confidence; all of which culminate into a decrease in quality of life. An organized literature review was performed focusing on studies that addressed adjunctive treatment modalities to improve overall disease outcomes in AD patients ages 10-19. Research has indicated the effectiveness of educational interventions for adolescents that aim to teach patients how to better cope with the disease by introducing topical therapy training, support groups, and counseling interventions. These interventions equip the youth with knowledge, motivate them to self-manage their chronic condition, and reinforce healthy behaviors. Because of the success of these interventions, it is important for providers such as physician assistants (PAs) and physicians to learn how to recognize patients’ psychological stress and effectively implement education interventions. Proposed project The purpose of this study is to create a continuing medical education (CME) presentation-based lecture summarizing the most recent literature regarding educational interventions, which will raise awareness in the medical community. A brief 90-minute course will be offered for CME credits to expand the knowledge base of providers and equip them with resources necessary to encourage age-appropriate behavioral modifications to prevent and minimize relapses.