Therapeutic patient education in atopic eczema


  • Funding sources This work was supported by an unrestricted grant from Pierre Fabre Dermo-Cosmétique, France.
  • Conflicts of interest S.B. has received an honorarium to write this paper and both authors have received research grants from the Foundation for Atopic Dermatitis, Pierre Fabre.


Therapeutic patient education (TPE) is a patient-centred process that entails the transfer of skills (e.g. self-management, treatment adaptation) from a trained healthcare professional to patients and/or their carers. TPE has been shown to help improve adherence, prevent complications, and improve quality of life (QoL) in chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma and cardiovascular disease. Recently, TPE recommendations for patients with atopic eczema have been proposed. TPE is a four-step process: understanding the patient's knowledge, beliefs and hopes; setting age-appropriate educational objectives; helping the patient (or carer) to acquire skills; and assessing the success of the programme. TPE programmes always involve a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals, including nurses, psychologists, doctors and dieticians who are expert in the disease area. TPE should be offered to (never forced upon) any patient who has experienced treatment failure, or to families who feel they lack social support. High-quality TPE programmes should be evidence-based, tailored to a patient's individual educational and cultural background (rather than being standardized in form and content), and have well-defined content and activities.