The module has been developed with the BMJ and supported by Novartis

Changing Faces launches new training module for health care professionals who work with patients with skin conditions

A new training module created by Changing Faces, generously funded by Novartis and hosted by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) will be launched this week [Thursday 6 October] at the annual Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Conference in Harrogate. Changing Faces supports and represents people with disfigurements including those caused by skin conditions.

Professor Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said

“Skin conditions can seriously impact on our patients’ mental health and wellbeing, and as we strive for parity of esteem between physical and mental health, this is something we must take into account.

GPs are highly trained to treat the whole person, taking into account physical, psychological and social symptoms when making a diagnosis, and this e-learning module from Changing Faces will be invaluable in supporting us to apply this effectively for our patients with skin conditions, and ensure they receive the holistic care they need.”

The training is a ‘must do’ for health professionals who want to deliver a patient centred and integrated health service.

Skin conditions are extremely common. In a twelve month period, approximately 54% of the UK population experience a skin condition. The most common reasons for seeing a GP are skin infection and eczema (1). Patients with skin conditions who would benefit from psychosocial support report a lack of knowledge and skills of health professionals, a slow care pathway, lack of joined up care and a lack of information (2).

Many people adjust to having a visible difference but some need some extra support to help them cope (3). In 2013 Changing Faces carried out a survey and found that more than half of the respondents found it difficult to find appropriate psychological support. One of the respondents, a 43 year old woman with vitiligo, said

“The psychological issues are sometimes harder than the physical pain, and I think it is underestimated how much help this counselling and building confidence can do.”

Changing Faces has created an easily accessible and simple learning module to make health care professionals more confident in addressing psychosocial concerns. The module teaches professionals to recognise the signs and symptoms of distress and anxiety of patients with skin conditions. It also enables them to identify the significance of psychosocial care and their role in carrying out appropriate assessments to measure the impact of a changed appearance as well as the interventions needed as part of their health plans (4).

Henrietta Spalding, Head of Advocacy at Changing Faces, said

“We have created this module as a response to the gaps in psychosocial care that patients with skin conditions receive. The focussed learning and strategies of this short module designed for busy GPs and dermatology professionals will support them in providing better psychological, social and emotional support to their patients.”

The Module, which begins with a short survey, can be accessed here.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

  1. Changing Faces Look at Me report, page 5.
  2. Changing Faces Look at Me report, page 7.
  3. Rumsey, N., Clarke, A., White, P. et al. (2004). Altered body image: Appearance-related concerns of people with visible disfigurements. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 48, 443-453.
  4. Bessell, A., Moss, T.P. (2007). Evaluating the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions for individuals with visible differences: A systematic review of the empirical literature. Body Image, 4, 227-238.

For further information, please contact the Changing Faces Press Office on 020 7391 9283 / 07823 348125 or email rehana.browne@changingfaces.org.uk.

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