Rheumatic care and gender

Duration: Oct 2019 - May 2021

Previous Nivel research and practical experience show that there are differences in the perceived complaints and the course of rheumatic diseases between women and men (see Nivel publication 'Treat me like a woman: a mixed studies review into treatement burden to develop). gender sensitive rheumatic care' via Rheumatism is more common in women than in men. Women also experience more complaints and problems from the treatment. It is by no means always clear where exactly these differences come from. In the treatment of rheumatic diseases, male-female differences are not yet taken into account as standard. Care providers are insufficiently aware of these differences, so that too little attention is paid to them in treatment.

The study was designed to draw more attention from healthcare providers to the existing differences between men and women with rheumatic diseases, by:
1. Create awareness among healthcare providers and patient organizations about previously found male-female differences in aspects such as: experiencing complaints, side effects and pain; treatment preferences; integration of disease and treatment into everyday life; wishes with regard to information and support.
2. Provide support in the form of an Attention Guide for doctors and patients with the aim of giving attention to areas in which men and women differ during treatment.

Together with patients and care providers, we look at which differences are the most important. We then make healthcare providers more aware of these differences through a quiz and together we look at how we can best use the knowledge about male/female differences to improve care. Steps in the research are:
1. Update of previously conducted literature review (see the Nivel publication 'Treat me like a woman: a mixed studies review into treatement burden to develop gender sensitive rheumatic care' via, in which we discuss various topics related to to identify gender differences in rheumatic diseases. Results of this research will be contained in a publication.
2. Prioritization of Topics: Topics are ranked by patients and caregivers from least to most important.
3. Questionnaire research to check 'awareness in practice': health care providers are tested on the important topics in a questionnaire.
4. Online focus group: in which experts by experience and involved care providers contribute ideas about the topics in an Attention Guide and the form of the tool.

The results are translated into the tool 'Attention guide for Reumazorg and Gender' (see With this tool - in the form of a poster and attention cards (business cards) with a QR code to a Nivel website page with more information - attention is drawn to the most important topics within the theme. Related to this, communication tips are given, to care providers and to patients, for discussing these topics during the consultation.
With the Attention Guide we aim to ensure that differences between men and women are really addressed during the consultation. The poster with attention cards can place care providers in the waiting room / consultation room in sight, so that extra attention is paid to the subject and people are made aware of the importance of gender differences in rheumatism care. The poster and business cards through professional associations and can also be ordered from Nivel.
In this project we work together with
UMC Utrecht,