Peer Support for Eczema Caregivers

At the RAD 2022 Conference, Keri Kelley, Senior Outreach and Community Manager at Global Parents for Eczema Research discussed a program aimed at providing support for eczema caregivers.

In her session “Peer Support for Eczema Caregivers”, Keri Kelley, Senior Outreach and Community Manager at Global Parents for Eczema Research (GPER) explained how the organization works to identify the highest priority needs among parents and young patients with atopic dermatitis (AD).

GPER is leading a global effort to measure and improve care and treatments for people with eczema in 8 countries (Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Germany, United States, and the United Kingdom) from a patient-centered perspective, and collaborates with 10 other patient organizations.

It has launched a new initiative to address this crisis in caregiver stress. The Support for Eczema Care Program is a psychosocial support program that provides help with navigating eczema and finding appropriate resources. The free program matches participants with other parents or caregivers, who provide listening support on a weekly basis for 3 months and assist them in finding medical and mental health resources.

This program stemmed from multiple studies surrounding the impacts of AD on patient caregivers, which showed they experience time-consuming treatment regimens, lack of sleep, mental anguish and financial impacts associated with high stress.

In 2022, GPER entered a partnership with Pepperdine University to look at the impact that support and encouragement can have on caregivers. The study looked at 3 randomized groups of AD caregivers and gave them support by either email only, 1:1 peer support, or facilitated small group meetings.

"The study found once you serve parents, and address their stress, and their confidence in managing eczema, their Patient-Oriented Eczema Measure (POEM) score for the child improved over time", said Kelley. The study found a significant difference in POEM scores from baseline to week 6 and from week 6 to week 12. She said it is imperative that caregivers have an understanding of the stressors, have tools to manage them, and find the best practices for controlling symptoms. Once they have that, she said it would translate into improved eczema control for their children.

Reference

Kelley, K. Peer Support for Eczema Caregivers. RAD 2022 Conference; December 11, 2022.

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